Director Richard Lester said he was given a strict deadline and low budget when making The Beatles' first film A Hard Day's Night, because the film's producers didn't think the band's popularity would last.
Speaking to NME before the premiere screening of the remastered 50th anniversary version of the film at London's BFI Southbank last night (July 3), he also assessed the acting skills of the four Beatles, saying George was the best in the band "because he didn't try to do too much, but always hit it right in the middle," and that Paul McCartney "was so enthusiastic he perhaps tried too hard." John Lennon, meanwhile, "had some cutting words for me at times" and said there were concerns beforehand over Ringo Starr's solo scene, filmed along the Thames near Kew Gardens, but Lester didn't doubt for a moment that the drummer could do what was asked of him. On the subject of the producers' projection for the future of the band, Lester said: "The idea of the film came from the film department of United Artists at the beginning of 1964, and they said they'd only do it if it was cheap and in black and white and if we could get it done by July. They thought The Beatles were going to be a spent force by the end of the summer."