Do the Beatles Actually Appear in ‘Yesterday’? (Spoiler Alert)
This article spoils several important details about Yesterday's plot. You'll enjoy the movie more if you don't read this before you see the film.
In the most dramatic scene from the trailer for the new movie Yesterday, it appears Jack Malik is about to be called out by two of the Beatles for stealing their music. On national television, no less.
The film stars Himesh Patel as a struggling musician who wakes up after getting hit by a bus and discovers nobody else in the world remembers the Beatles or any of their music. Despite some reservations, he begins performing the group's songs (as best as he can remember them, anyway) and passing them off as his own. He quickly becomes a global superstar.
This popularity leads him to a booking on late-night TV with James Corden, an incident that takes a quick turn for the worse when the host mentions that two men are backstage "who claim that the songs are theirs." As a stunned and terrified Jack turns to view his accusers, we see no faces, just two pairs of feet. One is barefoot, the other sports shiny black dress shoes, just as the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, wore on the cover of 1969's Abbey Road album.
"Let's see how this plays out, shall we?" asks Corden. But then the trailer cuts away to other scenes from the movie, leaving us with a cliffhanger.
So are McCartney and Starr really in the movie? No. That scene is just a nightmare a guilt-ridden Jack has before his appearance on Corden's show. Other than the brief shot of the two sets of feet, neither musician appears in the movie -- as themselves or portrayed by actors.
However, the role of Ringo Starr is credited to David Lautman on IMDB.com. We reached out to Lautman for a comment about his participation in the movie, but he declined, noting that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement. There's currently no credit listed for the actor playing McCartney; George Harrison isn't portrayed in the movie at all.
But John Lennon does appear in Yesterday.
It turns out there are two other people who remember the Beatles and their music. They track down Jack, who quickly apologizes for his thieving masquerade and begs for forgiveness.
But they're not mad, just grateful to have the Beatles' music back in their lives, though they do gently chide him for putting "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"'s lyrics in the wrong order. To help him feel better about what he's done, they send Jack to meet a never-been-famous, 78-year-old Lennon, whom they somehow found anonymously living out his golden years in an ocean-side home.
Dropping in unannounced on Lennon (who's played by a so-far-uncredited actor), Jack asks him if he's happy. "Very" is the immediate response. He then asks if his host felt his life was successful.
"I just said very happy, that means successful," is Lennon's somewhat annoyed reply. "Did a job I enjoy, day after day, sailed the world, fought for things I believed in and won a couple of times. Found the woman I loved, fought hard to keep her too. Lived my life with her. ... It all turned out just ... fab."
The random visit and probing questions from an emotional and hug-insisting Jack quickly lead Lennon to suggest that his young visitor needs "serious psychiatric help." But he actually told Jack exactly what he needed to hear, and his inspiration proves to be crucial in the movie's concluding scenes.
But that part you'll just have to see for yourself.
Watch the 'Yesterday' Trailer
Everything (Else) You Need to Know About the Beatles 'Yesterday' Movie