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Star of Beatles musical ‘Across The Universe’ initially thought idea was risky

Any Beatle fan worth there salt knows that Beatle-related films are a totally a risky proposition.  Most of you remember fondly, we hope, the Robert Zemeckis directed beatle fan film, I Wanna to Hold Your Hand.  It hasn’t held up to history that well, but the campy value of it rings in the nostalgia.

Beatle film musicals are something that I cringe when I think about.  I know we only really have a few post-Beatle film to judge the others by, but either you completely love them (I am Sam), or you totally loathe them (the Bee Gee’s star-studded Pepper flop).

I have to agree with the actors on this new film Across the Universe.  Filming a Beatle musical is a risky proposition.  This new film seems different somehow though.  The right amount of history is mixed with a new story, and the music is integrated as an integral character in the book.  I, for one, cannot wait to see this film. 

  • You can check out new clips from the film, Across the Universe, on the director’s myspace page.

Which post-Beatle breakup film is your favorite Beatle-related movie?  Let us know in the comments below.  (Personally, my vote goes for I am Sam.)

Here’s what we’ve read.

British actor Jim Sturgess says he was initially a bit leery about starring in “Across The Universe,” a movie musical made up of Beatles songs.

“I remember thinking this could potentially be a disaster,” he said in an interview Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“The idea of these high school kids singing these Beatles songs was not one that really appealed to me at all.”

But when Sturgess found out that Julie Taymor, the mastermind behind the majestic stage production of “The Lion King,” was directing the film, he was sold.

“(I thought) I want to be in this film because I know what she’ll do with it will be spectacular, it will be different … it will be visually stunning and something that I would die to be working on,” said Sturgess.

In many ways, “Across The Universe” – which opens in Canada later this month – is a visual delight.

The psychedelic film, which takes place in the 1960s, features eye-popping scenes including life-sized puppets and elaborate dance routines.

The story captures the upheaval of the Vietnam war – with about 30 Beatles songs that artfully drive the narrative.

As Lucy (played by Evan Rachel Wood) waits for her boyfriend to come back from army training, she sings “It Won’t Be Long.” When Lucy is protesting the Vietnam war, Jude (played by Sturgess) sings “Revolution.” And when Jude is feeling down near the film’s conclusion, his friend Max (Joe Anderson) sings – what else? – “Hey Jude.”

The fantastical film even features U2 frontman Bono as a counter-culture guru, singing “I Am The Walrus.”

The 26-year-old Sturgess says the film was a dream project, combining his passions for acting and music.

“Every day you would wake up, you would leap out of bed …. desperate to get to work to just find out what crazy stuff Julie has in store for you that day,” said Sturgess, whose previous credits mostly include TV.

“You would turn up and one day there would be giant puppets and blue things and weird stuff going on, and then another day you’d be given a load of red paint and strawberries just to throw around a room. It was without doubt one of the most creative and collaborative and just inspiring experiences I’ve ever had.”

The film has already received a stamp of approval from Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.

Sturgess says Taymor watched the film with McCartney, who loved it.

And, he said, the director called him one night when he and Wood were out for dinner and told them Starr was watching the movie. The pair rushed to the theatre to watch the reactions of the Beatle drummer. Afterwards he told them he enjoyed it.

“(It was) hugely gratifying,” said Sturgess.

“We made it as Beatles fans, so of course to have one of the Beatles give it his seal of approval was huge.”

Source: Canadian Press


3 Responses

  1. yess, i am so excited to see this movie — it can’t come out soon enough.

  2. My favorite Beatles related movie is I Wanna Hold Your Hand, a 1970s film which was directed by Roger Zimekis (sp?) of Forrest Gump fame and produced by Steven Spielberg.

  3. […] Did you like this brief introduction? Find out about it in full detail here. […]

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