- Timeline This film has been released in 2023
- Release date:
- Nov 03, 2023
2023 • For The Beatles • Directed by Oliver Murray
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“Now and Then,“ the last Beatles song, was released on November 2, 2023. A music video directed by Peter Jackson premiered the following day, November 3, 2023, featuring footage of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr filmed in 2023, footage of Paul, Ringo, and George Harrison filmed in 1995, footage of John Lennon filmed in the 1970s, and historical Beatles footage.
At the premiere of the video on YouTube, Paul McCartney introduced it with the following words:
Hi, Paul McCartney here. When we asked Peter Jackson to make a video for our new single “Now And Then,” he said he didn’t know how to make a music video but he was going to make it anyway. Well, I think he passed the audition. Judge for yourselves. Here it is, “Now And Then.”Paul McCartney
I’m talking to The Beatles about another project, something very, very different than Get Back. We’re seeing what the possibilities are, but it’s another project with them. It’s not really a documentary… and that’s all I can really say.Peter Jackson – From Peter Jackson new Beatles Film With Paul McCartney Ringo Starr Get Back – Deadline, July 20, 2022
From Read What Peter Jackson Says About Making The Beatles’ Last Music Video. | The Beatles, October 31, 2023:
When Apple asked me to make the music video for The Beatles’ last single, I was very reluctant. I thought my next few months would be a hell of a lot more fun if that tricky task was somebody else’s problem, and I could be like any other Beatles fan, enjoying the night-before-Christmas anticipation as the release of a new Beatles song and music video approached – in 1995, l loved the childlike excitement I felt as the release of Free As A Bird was inching closer.
I could have that experience once again – all I had to do was say no to The Beatles.
To be honest, just thinking about the responsibility of having to make a music video worthy of the last song The Beatles will ever release produced a collection of anxieties almost too overwhelming to deal with. My lifelong love of The Beatles collided into a wall of sheer terror at the thought of letting everyone down. This created intense insecurity in me, because I’d never made a music video before, and was not able to imagine how I could even begin to create one for a band that broke up over 50 years ago, had never actually performed the song, and had half of its members no longer with us.
It was going to be far easier to do a runner.
I just needed a little time to figure out a good reason for turning The Beatles down – so I never actually agreed to make the music video for Now And Then (in fact I still haven’t to this day).
I told Apple how the lack of suitable footage worried me. We’d need to use a lot of rare and unseen film, but there’s very little. Nothing at all seemed to exist showing Paul, George and Ringo working on Now And Then in 1995 when the three surviving Beatles decided to try to see what they could do with the tape recorded by John, and given to Paul by Yoko Ono after his death.
There’s not much footage of John in the mid-Seventies, when he wrote the demo. I grizzled about the lack of unseen Beatles footage from the Sixties, and they didn’t even shoot any footage showing Paul and Ringo working on the song last year.
A Beatles music video must have great Beatles footage at its core. There’s no way actors or CGI Beatles should be used. Every shot of The Beatles needed to be genuine. By now I really had no idea how anyone could make a Now And Then music video if they didn’t have decent footage to work with, and this was far from being a lame excuse. My fear and insecurity now had solid reasons why they should prevail and allow me to say no without looking too much like a chicken.
I knew The Beatles don’t take no for an answer if their minds are set on something – but they didn’t even wait for me to say no. I found myself swept along as they quickly addressed my concerns. Paul and Ringo shot footage of themselves performing and sent that to me. Apple unearthed over 14 hours of long-forgotten film, shot during the 1995 recording sessions, including several hours of Paul, George and Ringo working on Now And Then, and gave all that to me.
Sean [Lennon] and Olivia [Harrison] found some great unseen home movie footage and sent that. To cap things off, a few precious seconds of The Beatles performing in their leather suits, the earliest known film of The Beatles and never seen before, was kindly supplied by Pete Best.
Watching this footage completely changed the situation – I could see how a music video could be made. Actually, I found it far easier if I thought of it as making a short movie, so that’s what I did. My lack of confidence with music videos didn’t matter anymore if I wasn’t making one.
Even so, I still had no solid vision for what this short film should be – so I turned to the song for guidance.
After we had separated John’s voice on the demo tape over a year ago, Giles Martin, at Abbey Road Studios had produced an early mix of Now And Then. This had been sent to me back in 2022. I loved it. Since then I must have listened to Now And Then over 50 times, purely for pleasure.
Now I started listening to it intently for different reasons. I was hoping that ideas or inspiration for the short film would somehow float up from the music. And that began to happen. As I kept listening, it felt like the song was creating ideas and images that started forming in my head – without any conscious effort from me.
I teamed up with Jabez Olssen, my Get Back editor, to try and figure ways the new film footage could be used to support these wispy ideas. It was a very organic process, and we slowly started build little fragments, sliding pictures and music around in different ways until things began to click in.
We wanted the short film to bring a few tears to the eye, but generating emotion using only archive footage is a tricky thing. Fortunately, the simple power of this beautiful song did a lot of the work for us, and we finished the first 30 or 40 seconds of the film fairly quickly.
Having done that, we jumped straight to the ending, and tried to craft something that could adequately sum up the enormity of The Beatles’ legacy – in the last few seconds of their final recording. This proved to be impossible. Their contribution to the world is too immense, and their wondrous gift of music has become part of our DNA and now defies description.
I realised we needed the imagination of every viewer to do what we couldn’t, and have each viewer create their own personal moment of farewell to The Beatles – but we had to gently steer everyone to that place. I had some vague ideas, but didn’t really know how to achieve this.
Fortunately, Dhani Harrison, George’s son, happened to be visiting New Zealand, where I live, at this time. I discussed the ending with him, and described one vague idea I’d been toying with. His eyes immediately filled with tears – so that is the way we went.
Jabez and I now began thinking about the middle section. We could actually watch the beginning and end now, and quickly realised our initial plan of having similar emotional power continue through this middle section would be completely wrong. That was not who The Beatles were. At their core they were irreverent and funny, and the middle section should capture that spirit. We needed to laugh at The Beatles, and laugh with them. They were always sending themselves up – and the more seriously other people took them, the more they would clown around.
Luckily we found a collection of unseen outtakes in the vault, where The Beatles are relaxed, funny and rather candid. These become the spine of our middle section, and we wove the humour into some footage shot in 2023. The result is pretty nutty and provided the video with much needed balance between the sad and the funny.
After WētāFX, the visual effects studio I founded, completed a few simple but tricky VFX shots, it was finally finished.
To be honest, while we hope we’ve given The Beatles a suitable final farewell, that’s something you’ll need to decide for yourselves when it’s finally released – only a few days from now.
Having got to the end, I’m very happy I’m not waiting for the release of somebody else’s Now And Then music video. I have genuine pride in what we made, and I’ll cherish that for years to come. A huge thanks to Apple Corps and the Fabs for giving me all the support I needed – and not allowing me to wriggle away.From The Beatles, October 31, 2023
From thebeatles.com, October 31, 2023:
THE BEATLES’ “NOW AND THEN” MUSIC VIDEO DETAILS AND GLOBAL PREMIERE PLANS UNVEILED
PETER JACKSON’S MUSIC VIDEO DIRECTORIAL DEBUT PREMIERES WORLDWIDE THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3 AT 2PM GMT / 10AM EDT / 7AM PDT
THE LAST BEATLES SONG, “NOW AND THEN,” TO BE RELEASED THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2 AT 2PM GMT / 10AM EDT / 7AM PDT
THE BEATLES’ 1962-1966 (‘THE RED ALBUM’) AND 1967-1970 (‘THE BLUE ALBUM’) COLLECTIONS’ 2023 EDITION RELEASES OUT NOVEMBER 10
London – October 31, 2023 – As announced last Thursday, October 26, the last Beatles song, “Now And Then” will be released this Thursday, November 2. Today, Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe are pleased to share the details and premiere plans for the song’s evocative new music video, which Peter Jackson has directed in his first foray into music video production.
The “Now And Then” music video will premiere worldwide this Friday, November 3 at 2pm GMT / 10am EDT / 7am PDT on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@TheBeatles. The poignant and humorous video invites viewers to celebrate The Beatles’ timeless and enduring love for one another with John, Paul, George and Ringo as they create the last Beatles song.
Tune in at https://www.youtube.com/@TheBeatles this Friday, November 3 at 2pm GMT / 10am EDT / 7am PDT to join others from around the world to celebrate The Beatles’ “Now And Then” music video premiere.
[…] The music video’s global premiere will follow the worldwide release of The Beatles’ “Now And Then”/“Love Me Do” double A-side single this Thursday, November 2 at 2pm GMT / 10am EDT / 7am PDT.
[…] Premiering this Wednesday, November 1, ‘Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song’ is a 12-minute short film telling the story of how “Now And Then” was finally finished, almost five decades after it was originally written. This poignant short film, directed by Oliver Murray, tells the story behind the last Beatles song, with exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson. The short film will debut online for global viewing on The Beatles’ YouTube channel (7:30pm GMT / 3:30pm EDT / 12:30pm PDT). […]
Last updated on November 5, 2023