Peter Jackson explains why his Beatles series Get Back is so different from Let It Be

13 July 2021, 09:47 | Updated: 25 September 2023, 12:57

The Beatles and Peter Jackson
The Beatles and Peter Jackson. Picture: Getty

By Mayer Nissim

The filmmaker says he wasn't given a brief from Apple to make The Beatles look like they liked each other.

Peter Jackson's Get Back documentary series is coming to Disney+ later this year and it promises to be very different from the Let It Be movie that spawned it.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 movie was released soon after the band's split and seemed to show them on the verge of the break-up, while glimpses of Jackson's upcoming three-parter suggest The Beatles were on much better terms.

In a wide-ranging interview with GQ, Jackson was asked if he was asked to make the band look like they liked each other, but he said he "wasn’t given any brief, really" and that the tone of his film was led only by the footage.

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"They're all good friends and they remain good friends all the way throughout the series," Jackson said.

"This is before the Allen Klein period [when the band hired Klein as their manager against Paul's wishes], when they start to argue."

He added that footage of John Lennon and Paul McCartney writing songs together disproves a lot of the received wisdom of the band at the time.

The Beatles - Get Back
The Beatles - Get Back. Picture: The Beatles

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"It's really amazing to see how wrong a lot of these accounts have been," Jackson said.

"And it's not because I have special insight or I have secret understanding; it’s just that it's there on camera."

The filmmaker suggested that the tone of Lindsay-Hogg's Let It Be was perhaps subconsciously dictated by the contemporary disintegration of the band.

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"He says he wasn't influenced by the breakup, but I’m not sure how you wouldn't be," Jackson said

"Let It Be does appear to show the sort of atmosphere at the time that led to the breakup, which is actually just simply not true, because the film was shot 14 months prior to that and long before the breakup."

Jackson said that he tried to use none of the footage that made it into the Let It Be movie, so it would be more of a companion piece than an attempt to "usurp" the original.

The Beatles final live performance up on the roof
The Beatles final live performance up on the roof. Picture: Getty

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However, he made an exception for the infamous squabble between McCartney and George Harrison, where the guitarist says: "I'll play whatever you want me to play. Or I won't play at all if you don't want me play."

"We've given people the context for the interaction by showing the full six-minute conversation," he said.

"It no longer feels like an argument. It no longer feels like Paul is getting on George's nerves."

Originally slated for a 2020 cinema release, The Beatles: Get Back will now air as a three-part, six-hour mini-series exclusively on Disney+ on November 25, 26, and 27, 2021.