The Beatles’ forthcoming film “Get Back” — a Peter Jackson-directed documentary culled from the footage from the 1970 “Let It Be” film — will premiere as a Disney Plus original documentary series over the Thanksgiving holidays.
Because of the wealth of tremendous footage Jackson has reviewed, which he has spent the past three years restoring and editing, “The Beatles: Get Back” will be presented as three separate episodes. Each episode is approximately two hours in length, rolling out over three days, November 25, 26 and 27, 2021, exclusively on Disney Plus.
The film, snippets of which were previewed during a Universal Music Group presentation last year as well as a “montage” debuted online, is culled from more than 50 hours of footage taped in January of 1969 as the Beatles worked on material that ultimately became the “Let It Be” album and feature-length film. Based on the previewed footage, “Get Back” will present a counter-narrative to “Let It Be,” which effectively documented the Beatles breaking up; the group would record their last song together just eight months later. Where “Let It Be” tends to be a bit morose — the film is currently out of circulation and surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison have seemed reluctant to revisit it — “Get Back” appears to be classic moptops, with lots of humor, affection and camaraderie.
The most recent previous project by Jackson, who is best known for his epic series of “Lord of the Rings” films, was “They Shall Not Grow Old,” a fascinating World War I documentary built around meticulously restored 100-year-old footage. He has turned some of that technological wizardry to the 50-year-old “Let It Be” footage, with vivid results.
See the preview and read Variety‘s take on it here.
“Get Back” was originally scheduled to be released in September of 2020, then bumped to this September, and now is a Disney Plus series premiering in November. Further details were not immediately available, although the production credits are below.
“As a huge Beatles fan myself, I am absolutely thrilled that Disney Plus will be the home for this extraordinary documentary series by the legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson,” said Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, The Walt Disney Company. “This phenomenal collection of never-before-seen footage offers an unprecedented look at the close camaraderie, genius songwriting, and indelible impact of one of the most iconic and culturally influential bands of all time, and we can’t wait to share ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ with fans around the world.”
Peter Jackson commented, “In many respects, Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s remarkable footage captured multiple storylines. The story of friends and of individuals. It is the story of human frailties and of a divine partnership. It is a detailed account of the creative process, with the crafting of iconic songs under pressure, set amid the social climate of early 1969. But it’s not nostalgia – it’s raw, honest, and human. Over six hours, you’ll get to know The Beatles with an intimacy that you never thought possible.”
He added, “I’m very grateful to The Beatles, Apple Corps and Disney for allowing me to present this story in exactly the way it should be told. I’ve been immersed in this project for nearly three years, and I’m very excited that audiences around the world will finally be able to see it.”
A new collaboration between The Beatles and Jackson presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., “The Beatles: Get Back” is directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Clare Olssen (“They Shall Not Grow Old”) and Jonathan Clyde (“Eight Days a Week”), with Ken Kamins (“The Hobbit” trilogy) and Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones (“Eight Days a Week”) serving as executive producers. Jabez Olssen (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) serves as the documentary’s editor, and the music is mixed by Giles Martin (“Rocketman”) and Sam Okell (“Yesterday”).
According to the announcement., “The Beatles: Get Back” is being made with the enthusiastic support of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.
Ahead of the documentary’s Disney Plus debut, Apple Corps Ltd./Callaway Arts & Entertainment will release “The Beatles: Get Back” book on October 12. Beautifully designed and produced, the 240-page hardcover complements the “Get Back” documentary with transcriptions of The Beatles’ recorded conversations and hundreds of exclusive, never before published photos from the three weeks of sessions. The collectible book will be published in nine international language editions, including English.