Back in September, Sir Paul McCartney suggested that the ill-fated documentary film version of Let It Be could be repurposed and made into a totally new movie. And now, with the help of one of the most famous directors on the planet, it looks like that is actually going to happen. But, for hardcore fans of both the Beatles and J.R.R. Tolkien, there’s a deeper twist here.
On Wednesday, news broke that Peter Jackson, Oscar-winning director of Lord of the Rings and King Kong will help create a new Beatles documentary using unseen footage from the original film titled Let It Be. For hardcore Beatles fans, this is great news, if only because Jackson is such a skilled filmmaker. According to Variety, Jackson said “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us ensure this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about.” Jackson also indicated that the documentary will dispell the “myth” that the Beatles were miserable throughout the Let It Be project.
Obviously, even if the documentary is strange or a mixed bag, any new Beatles footage from this era is utterly fascinating, if only because it represents the moment when the Beatles were on the verge of breaking up and becoming the solo-artists and mellowed-out dudes they were destined to become. The brainchild of Paul McCartney, Let It Be, is often considered the project that forced the break-up, and the original cutting of the documentary certainly presents that feeling. Could the new Let It Be paint history in a different light? Maybe.
But, there’s another interesting layer here with Peter Jackson and the world of J.R.R. Tolkien: in the ’60s, the Beatles actually wanted to make a movie version of Lord of the Rings confirmed in 2014…and star it in themselves. Long considered to be a rumor, Peter Jackson that he had talked to Paul McCartney about the project and that it was very real. Paul and Ringo would have played Frodo and Sam, John would have played Gollum and George would have played Gandalf. Apparently, the project didn’t happen because director Stanely Kubrick turned the Beatles down, plus, J.R.R. Tolkien (who was still alive then) wasn’t the biggest Beatles fan, and nixed the idea of the collaboration, too.
So, now, things have come full circle, the guy who made the Lord of the Rings movie the Beatles couldn’t is now recreating the Beatles documentary the Beatles never wanted.
The new film, as yet untitled, will be released sometime in 2020.