After Danny Boyle dropped out of the upcoming Bond instalment just nine days ago due to ‘creative differences’ (I don’t think anyone else wanted to see Bond die, either), it’s now been reported that he’s moved swiftly on, directing his creative efforts towards a Beatles-inspired movie with none other than Ed Sheeran – playing himself.
We had a first look at this back in March, when Universal spilled the beans about the comedy it had in the works, but now Sheeran has released a few more details about his role and his preparation for the film, tearing through the movie/music industry continuum. Depending on your preference, this is either a) utter madness, chaos and confusion, or b) pure genius and the reason why we even have films in the first place. I’m going with the first and there’s a lot to unpack here.
In a world where an entire movie is devised from the lyrics of a pretty mediocre Plain White T’s song, anything is possible. Boyle certainly thinks so: the movie’s premise follows a singer-songwriter (Himesh Patel) who wakes up one day and realizes that he is the only man on earth who remembers the Beatles – presumably it’s a one-man mission to restore their status as musical legends.
Sheeran, in character, ‘discovers’ Patel and takes him on tour – ‘then he gets much, much bigger than me through doing stuff,’ Sheeran explains. ‘Yeah, it’s very clever.’ It might be. It might be the best film in years, a phantasmagorical cocktail of visual styles and genre-bending just like Yellow Submarine or Help! Or maybe it’s going to go about as well as you would expect.
What’s more, the screenplay has been written by Four Weddings’ Richard Curtis. Teaming up with Danny Boyle isn’t something that’s been on the cards before, but perhaps we can expect the best of both worlds from the unlikely pairing. Perhaps owing to the rest of the cast – including Lily James (who’s had a busy run this year) and Blade Runner 2049‘s Ana de Armas – there might be a romcom element, but it really is pretty impossible to try to guess what’s going to come of it until it’s here in the flesh.
Sheeran commented on an ‘intense two months’ of filming, involving ‘12-hour days’, adding that ‘it really taught me how to act.’ All this in between playing gigs – though he suggested that ‘I was playing myself so it wasn’t that bad. There wasn’t much to [mess] up.’
After a brief foray into acting with a cameo in Game of Thrones, Ed’s giving it another try. He does note that ‘I can’t see myself playing an Avenger, you know? I don’t really want to be an actor’ – although he also makes the comment that he wanted to make something like the Irish movie Once, ‘where the songs dictate the film’.
The upcoming movie is in post-production and is set for a 2019 release. Although not a lot is known about the substance of the movie yet, it has dropped names like Kate McKinnon, Joel Fry, and others. Universal has been pretty tight-lipped, but it’s a safe bet to expect a trailer soon.