What Would New York Be Without the Beatles?

Monday, June 24, 2019

Elevator pitch: What if you woke up tomorrow morning and were the only person on Earth who remembered the Beatles? John, Paul, George, Ringo: forgotten. Marmalade skies: gibberish. You scribble down all the lyrics you remember, pass off the songs as your own, and get a huge record deal. Everyone thinks you’re a rock god. You know you’re a phony. This scenario is the premise of “Yesterday,” the new film from Danny Boyle, a sort of reverse bio-pic in which the subjects are erased from history, leaving a yellow-submarine-size hole.

To play Jack Malik, the struggling singer-songwriter who goes from anonymity to Malikmania, Boyle cast the British actor Himesh Patel. “Yesterday” is his first film. Hours before its première, at the Tribeca Film Festival, Patel, who is twenty-eight, stepped out of a hired car on a rainy West Village street. Tourists have multiple New York Beatles tours to choose from, but Patel had opted for his own, customized “What If the Beatles Never Existed?” tour. Before him was 105 Bank Street, a cracked white-stucco town house, where an obscure couple named John and Yoko lived between 1971 and 1973. “I looked this building up,” Patel (rumpled black hair, green raincoat) said. “There was some family living there in the late nineteenth century with three brothers.” Two of them tried to scam the other’s widow out of some money, and they ended up in court. “So there’s this whole weird backstory of sibling criminality.”

Source: Michael Schulman


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