In a monster feature interview with Empire Magazine, Yesterday screenwriter Richard Curtis revealed scenes with all four Beatles members were filmed, but only John Lennon's made the theatrical cut.
Spoilers for Yesterday ahead!
Curtis and director Danny Boyle's Beatles rom-com Yesterday is one of 2019's most talked about films, if only because of its wild gimmick; a young musician named Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel) wakes up after a car accident to unbelievably find that he is the only person to remember the Beatles. He teaches himself all of their songs and becomes a mega star, teaming up with none other than Ed Sheeran along the way (played by Sheeran himself). In an unusual scene late in the film, Malik is led to find John Lennon (played by Robert Carlyle) living by the seaside having never found mega success and thus never being murdered.
Fan reaction to the scene has been mixed, with some deriding it as insensitive to Lennon's memory. Boyle defended the twist, telling Empire “There’s something very acute about the violence, the senselessness, of what John faced for a moment. Gone way before nature really took any kind of toll… it’s particularly acute for that". Curtis however wanted to go a step further, with two more scenes featuring the other three members. The first would have had Malik run into George Harrison and Ringo Starr in a Liverpool pub.
“It was, I hope, a sweet scene, and they were just two delightful, oldish men who'd once been in a band together,” Curtis told Empire. “[T]hey were clearly music enthusiasts who had never got any further. Happy people who loved music, like so many of us do, and formed a band or been in a pub band.”
Paul Mcartney would have popped in at the film's conclusion with reference to the song 'When I'm Sixty-Four'.
“At the very end [Jack] was going to move to the Isle of Wight, to a cottage, and you were going to hear outside his window someone saying, 'Vera, Chuck, Dave!' There were going to be three dogs, and Paul was going to be walking them," Curtis added.
The latter cut scene is foreshadowed in the beginning of the film, with Malik referencing 'When I'm Sixty-Four' in his hospital bed to Ellie Appleton (played by Lily James). Curtis kept just the Lennon scene in the final cut, claiming it was the most meaningful and "in some ways the pivotal scene of the film.”
Yesterday is playing in cinemas now. If you're in a Beatles mood, why not check out our long form piece on the influence of the Beatles on Australian music from the '60s to today here?