Yesterday Movie’s Original Script Was A More Depressing Take On Beatles Fame

Writer Jack Barth opens up about how his vaguely depressing script, Cover Version, was bought and turned into 2019’s romantic comedy, Yesterday.

Jack Barth says his original script, Cover Version, had a tone that wasn’t as light-hearted 2019’s Yesterday. Barth can best be described as a struggling writer. Having spent 40 years in the industry and writing 25 unproduced screenplays, Barth sold Cover Version to Working Title Films at 62-years-old. His script was about an average singer-songwriter who becomes one of the only people in the world to remember The Beatles (among other things). Taking a liking to this concept, acclaimed British filmmaker Richard Curtis bought the rights and teamed up with director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) to make Yesterday.

Curtis is credited as the sole screenwriter of Yesterday, with Barth receiving only a “story by” credit. In a variety of interviews, Curtis explains discovering the concept of a world where only one songwriter remembers The Beatles (via Cover Version) and then writing Yesterday – a script entirely his own. Yesterday’s protagonist Jack (Himesh Patel) becomes an overnight success thanks to his utilization of the Beatles’ songbook. However, Jack’s journey is complicated by looming guilt and a desire to be with his lifelong crush and friend, Ellie (Lily James). The film exhibits Curtis’ signature blend of romance and comedy that fans have become familiar with from films like Love Actually and About Time.

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