×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Yesterday’ Star Himesh Patel Talks Working With Ed Sheeran, Looking to Play a Superhero

Himesh Patel is making his feature film debut as the star of “Yesterday.”

In the romantic comedy, directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, Patel plays an aspiring musician who wakes ups from an accident to find that he is the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles. It doesn’t take long for him to become an international sensation by taking credit for the Fab Four’s greatest hits.

The significance of being a leading man of South Asian descent in a major studio film is not lost on Patel, who is most known for his work in the British soap “EastEnders.”

“We do need to see that more,” says the 28-year-old Patel. “But what I’m proud of with this one is that…it wasn’t like they went ‘Okay, this is great but we need to cast someone of a minority ethnicity in this role.’ It was just the fact that they cast the net wide because they looked at the role and quite intelligently went, ‘Well this role doesn’t have to be played by a white heterosexual male. It can be played by anyone so let’s just kind of see.’”

Patel sat down at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood for this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast.

Patel auditioned for the role by performing Coldplay’s “We Never Change.” His callback included performances of “Yesterday” and “Back in the U.S.S.R.” After landing the role, he spent two months in music boot camp taking guitar, piano and singing lessons.

Ed Sheeran signed on to appear as himself in the movie after Coldplay frontman Chris Martin declined the gig.

“Ed was like, ‘Of course I’m gonna do it,’” Patel said. “This film’s kind of like a familiar story. A guy from Suffolk who becomes the biggest star in the world.”

And then there’s Benedict Cumberbatch. While he isn’t in the movie, in one scene, Lily James, who plays Patel’s manager and love interest, cracks a joke about Cumberbatch becoming a sex symbol. “I’ve been told that he has a very good sense of humor,” Patel said. “I’m sure he’ll find it very funny.”

Promotion of the movie has included performing at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas during Universal’s CinemaCon presentation in the spring, on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” as well as at the iconic Tower Records building on the Sunset Strip.

While he has no plans at the moment to launch a music career, he wouldn’t mind a shot at a superhero movie. Patel lists “The Dark Knight” as one of his favorite movies.

“Let’s find a brown superhero,” he said. “Let’s do it.”

“Yesterday” is in theaters on June 28.

Listen to the full interview with Patel below. “The Big Ticket” can be found out iHeartRadio or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

More Film

  • Wings of Desire

    German Heritage Sector Applauds Increased Digitization, Preservation Funding

    LYON, France  — Germany’s film heritage sector is celebrating a new federal and state-funded initiative launching in January that will provide €10 million ($11.15 million) a year towards the digitization and preservation of feature films. Rainer Rother, the artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, outlined the plan at a panel discussion at the Lumière Festival’s [...]

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

  • Brett Gelman

    'Stranger Things' Star Brett Gelman Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse'

    Brett Gelman, best known for his scene-stealing roles in “Fleabag,” “Stranger Things” and “Love,” has joined Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith are also on board. Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known as John Terrence Kelly, a former Navy SEAL who [...]

  • US director Francis Ford Coppola holds

    Francis Ford Coppola Honored With Prestigious Lumiere Prize by Thierry Fremaux, Bong Joon Ho

    Francis Ford Coppola took the stage to claim the Lumière Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Lumière Prize, in a stirring celebration that marked the festival’s 10th edition on Friday night in Lyon, France. The four-time Academy Award winner accepted the prize after a series of video tributes, musical performances and testimonials from family, friends and [...]

  • 'Human Capital' Sells to Vertical Entertainment,

    Liev Schreiber, Maya Hawke's 'Human Capital' Sells Rights to DirecTV, Vertical Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV have jointly acquired the North American distribution rights to “Human Capital,” an official selection of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival from director Marc Meyers. The film stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Maya Hawke. The ensemble drama follows numerous interconnected stories surrounding a hit and run, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content