The Beatles biopics: Cast, director, release date and songs for the FOUR upcoming movies

29 February 2024, 12:19

Watch the trailer for Now and Then - The Last Beatles Song

By Mayer Nissim

Welcome to the launch of the Beatles Cinematic Universe.

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As you'd expect for arguably the biggest (and best?) band in the history of music, The Beatles have popped up plenty of times on the big (and small) screen over the years.

When it comes to documentaries, there was controversial Let It Be and its effective re-imagining with Peter Jackson's three-part Get Back, as well as Ron Howard's The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years and the eight-part Anthology series in 1995.

When it comes to dramas, during the band's own lifetime they played fictional versions of themselves in the classic A Hard Day's Night in 1964, their barmy colour excursion Help! the following year, Magical Mystery Tour and – with impressionists doing the Fab Four's voices – the animated Yellow Submarine.

Since then, there have been various portrayals of the Fab Four on screen. The early years and the life and times of Stuart Sutcliffe were covered in Backbeat, while John Lennon's early years were covered in Sam Taylor-Wood's 2009 film Nowhere Boy.

And then there was the Beatles film without The Beatles – Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis's high-concept Yesterday. But with the wave of high-profile feature biopics (Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, Elvis, and the upcoming Michael) it feels like a proper Beatles biopic was surely inevitable. Well, it turns out we're actually getting four. Here's everything you need to know.

Wait, did you say there would be FOUR Beatles biopics?

The Beatles at the movies
The Beatles at the movies. Picture: Getty Images

Yep! Too big for just one movie, it's been decided that there will be four separate Beatles films: one for each of the Fab Four of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

All four movies will be shot simultaneously, and will cross over with one another.

"The four theatrical feature films – one from each band member’s point-of-view – will intersect to tell the astonishing story of the greatest band in history," is how it was explained in the first announcement.

The Beatles in 1963
The Beatles in 1963. Picture: Getty Images

"The dating cadence of the films, the details of which will be shared closer to release, will be innovative and groundbreaking."

Think of it as the launch of the Beatles Cinematic Universe.

Producer Pippa Harris said: "We intend this to be a uniquely thrilling, and epic cinematic experience: four films, told from four different perspectives which tell a single story about the most celebrated band of all time."

What is the release date of the four Beatles movies?

The Beatles – Anthology ABC TV trailer

The films are being shot in 2025 with a planned release date of 2027. All four films will be in cinemas in the same year, though we don't yet know if the release will be simultaneous or staggered over the year.

"You have to match the boldness of the idea with a bold release strategy," Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman told The Hollywood Reporter soon after the project was announced.

"There hasn’t been an enterprise like this before, and you can’t think about it in traditional releasing terms.”

Who is directing the four Beatles movies?

Director Sam Mendes
Director Sam Mendes. Picture: Alamy

All four Beatles films will be directed by Sam Mendes.

After making his name in theatre, Mendes won Best Director at the Oscars for his 1999 film debut American Beauty, and he's only directed eight films since – including the back-to-back James Bond double header of Skyfall and Spectre.

"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," Mendes said.

Who will play the Fab Four in the four Beatles movies?

The actual Beatles on the set of A Hard Day's Night
The actual Beatles on the set of A Hard Day's Night. Picture: Getty Images

Given the promise that the four films will "intersect" and with their planned concurrent shooting, we're assuming that we're getting the same John, Paul, George and Ringos across the four films.

But as for who they'll be, we've not had any word yet.

The internet is already awash with wishlists though, and these are the names being mentioned for each of the Fab Four.

John Lennon: Sam Claflin, George Mackay, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Danon, Kit Connor, Josh O'Connor

Paul McCartney: Jacob Elordi, Jamie Bell, Tom Holland, Jack Lowden

George Harrison: Timothée Chalamet, Asa Butterfield, Dhani Harrison, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd

Ringo Starr: Barry Keoghan, Daniel Radcliffe, Craig Roberts, Anthony Boyle, Isaac Hempstead Wright

It's currently an extremely open field!

Will the four Beatles movies actually include The Beatles' music?

The Beatles – Revolver Special Edition boxset trailer

The surviving Beatles and their estates are more protective of the back catalogue than probably any other major artist.

But with this being a fully official project, we can assume that all four films will be packed with The Beatles' music.

"The project marks the first time Apple Corps Ltd. and The Beatles – Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the families of John Lennon and George Harrison – have granted full life story and music rights for a scripted film," is what we're told.

As for whether the cast will lip-sync to those classic original recordings or sing and play themselves, we're yet to be told.