The Beatles biopics: Release date, cast, plot, director and soundtrack for the four official movies

6 June 2024, 09:18

The Beatles are each getting official biopics.
The Beatles are each getting official biopics. Picture: Press Release

By Thomas Edward

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The Beatles are finally heading to the big screen.

Over the years we've seen numerous documentaries about the Fab Four or remastered live performances that have become a thing of legend.

But finally, over fifty years since The Beatles broke up, their stories will be told on the silver screen with the announcement of official biopics.

Biopics are big business nowadays, and The Beatles' individual members and estates aren't exactly in need of the notoriety, which is why this announcement has come as somewhat of a shock, as they've sanctioned the use of their music for a scripted film for the very first time.

There have previously been unofficial biopics focused on the group's origins - 18 in total - notably 1994's Backbeat about their Hamburg days, and 2009's Nowhere Boy about John Lennon's teenage years starring rumoured James Bond successor Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

The lives of Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr will be officially told in their own individual biopics from their own perspectives, which will intertwine at numerous junctures.

It sounds like an ambitious project, but one that may potentially reimagine how biopics are made, released, and received by fans.

So what will The Beatles' biopics be about? Who will play them? Who is directing? When are they scheduled for release? Here's all you need to know:

What will The Beatles biopics be about?

The Beatles in 1965. (Photo by Eyles/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
The Beatles in 1965. (Photo by Eyles/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images). Picture: Getty

At present, no writers have been snapped up to pen the script, so details on the plot are thin to say the least.

With each of The Beatles' four members being given their own biopic however, it's thought that the plot for each will cover their individual stories from childhood through to the end of their lives, or the present day in Paul and Ringo's case.

Of course, each biopic will no doubt focus on how the band came together, their success, and their split, where the films will overlap.

Who will play The Beatles?

Possible Paul McCartney Paul Mescal
Possible Paul McCartney Paul Mescal. Picture: Getty Images

There's been no confirmation on who will play John, Paul, Ringo, or George, just yet.

But in early June 2024, The InSneider claimed to have the news everyone was looking for.

The supposed planned casting is:

  • Harris Dickinson as John Lennon
  • Paul Mescal as Paul McCartney
  • Barry Keoghan as Ringo Starr
  • Charlie Rowe as George Harrison
1917's George Mackay and Sex Education's Asa Butterfield are two actors rumoured to play The Beatles.
1917's George Mackay and Sex Education's Asa Butterfield are two actors rumoured to play The Beatles. Picture: Getty

It's far from official just yet, so I wouldn't bin all the earlier theories and predictions as to who would be best suited to bring The Beatles' stories to the screen.

1917 actor George Mackay had been touted to take on Lennon, whilst Sex Education star Asa Butterfield was mentioned for McCartney.

Some fans predicted Jacob Fortune-Lloyd will play George, though his casting as Brian Epstein in the upcoming biopic Midas Man may have rule dhim out.

Welsh actor and director Craig Roberts has been suggested for Ringo, with fans thinking he could portray Ringo's unique dry wit.

They're by no means the frontrunners however, with a variety of other names being touted such as Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Josh O'Connor, Jacob Elordi, Jamie Bell, Tom Holland, Jack Lowden, Timothée Chalamet, Daniel Radcliffe and even George's son Dhani Harrison.

Who will direct The Beatles biopics?

Sam Mendes was integral to The Beatles and their estates coming on board. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Sam Mendes was integral to The Beatles and their estates coming on board. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage). Picture: Getty

British film director Sam Mendes has been confirmed to direct each of the four biopics of The Beatles.

Having helmed award-winning movies like 1917, American Beauty, and two 007 entries in Skyfall and Spectre, Mendes is turning his attentions to the Fab Four.

"I'm honoured to be telling the story of the greatest rock band of all time, and excited to challenge the notion of what constitutes a trip to the movies," he said when the biopics were first announced.

And according to the biopics' producer Pippa Harris, Sam Mendes was crucial in convincing the surviving band members and their estates to come on board, securing the rights to use their music in the process.

"It's a testament to his creative brilliance and powers of persuasion that Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sean Lennon, and Olivia Harrison responded with such warmth and enthusiasm as soon as he spoke with them," she said in an interview with Deadline.

When artists sanction the use of their music, they frequently oversee the biopics in question, often accused of sanitising the true stories in order to protect their legacies. That might not be the case with The Beatles biopics:

"What is truly exciting is for Sam to have the freedom to delve into the lives of each of the Beatles, with nothing off limits and no sense of the band wanting him to tell a particular 'authorised' version of their rise to success," Harris added.

Will The Beatles' music feature in the biopics?

The Beatles - Help!

The Beatles' music will feature in the official biopics, as Apple Corps Ltd. have agreed to its usage.

It's not the first time The Beatles have licensed their music - their songs were the centrepiece of theatrical films like 2019’s Danny Boyle-directed Yesterday and the 2007 Julie Taymor musical Across the Universe.

But the upcoming four biopics will mark the first time the songs of The Beatles will feature in a scripted film about them for the big screen.

James Sammataro - attorney at Pryor Cashman who represents Sony Music - has called The Beatles and Michael Jackson "the two Holy Grails of music biopics" due to the rarity of being officially green-lit, and the expense of using their music.

That seems to have changed, as biopics are a lucrative business which may future-proof The Beatles' legacies and revenue.

"Historically for artists, there wasn't a lot of upside in biopics," Sammataro says, referring to how biopics impacted sales.

"The more recent move toward biopics is ancillary to an overall changing viewpoint about monetizing music, which is: the more exposure, the better."

When are The Beatles biopics scheduled for release?

The Beatles' stories - collectively and individually - are officially heading to the big screen for the very first time.
The Beatles' stories - collectively and individually - are officially heading to the big screen for the very first time. Picture: Alamy

With no script finished or cast confirmed, it'll be a while before any of the four individual biopics of The Beatles come to a cinema near you.

Sony Pictures Entertainment - who are financing and distributing the film - hopes shooting will commence in 2025 however, looking to release all four films in 2027.

In a statement it was said that "the dating cadence of the films, the details of which will be shared closer to release, will be innovative and groundbreaking", presuming they'll all be theatrically released at a similar time.

Sony's chief Tom Rothman told The Hollywood Reporter: "You have to match the boldness of the idea with a bold release strategy. There hasn’t been an enterprise like this before, and you can’t think about it in traditional releasing terms."

"Much of what we struggle with in our business right now is familiarity," he says. 'How often do you get an approach that is entirely original?"

It'll be an ambitious undertaking, filming four films at once which all follow a similar release schedule, though we wouldn't expect anything less from the biopics that aim to "tell the story of the greatest band in history."