Ron Howard to Direct New Documentary on Beatles’ Touring Years
By Brian Ives
After getting clowned by Tyler, The Creator, learning about EDM from Skrillex and hanging out with Jay Z in the 2013 Made In America documentary, director Ron Howard is focusing on music again for an upcoming project.
Apple Records, White Horse Pictures and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment just announced a new authorized documentary for Apple, based on the first part of the Beatles’ career, before they retired from performing concerts. As with all Beatle-related projects from Apple, the film will be produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.
Howard said, “I am excited and honored to be working with Apple and the White Horse team on this astounding story of these four young men who stormed the world in 1964. Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated.”
This film will focus on the Beatles’ legendary early shows at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and their residencies in Hamburg to their last public concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966.
The Beatles began touring Europe in late 1963, but it was their much-celebrated appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 9, 1964 that led to the Beatles’ popularity exploding, and “Beatlemania.” By June of that year, the band had gone on their first world tour; they would continue on a relentless schedule for two subsequent years. By the time the band stopped touring in August of 1966, they had performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities worldwide.
No mention was made in the press release about whether or not the band’s original drummer, Pete Best, would be interviewed. Best, of course, was their drummer for their early club gigs, but was dismissed by the band in 1962, later to be replaced by Ringo Starr.
According to the press release, “This film will seek to explain what it was about that particular moment in time that allowed ['Beatlemania'] to occur. It will examine the social and political context of the time, and reveal the unique conditions that caused technology and mass communication to collide. The film will also explore the incomparable electricity between performer and audience that turned the music into a movement – a common experience into something sublime.”
That common experience will be represented, the producers hope, via submission from fans who experienced Beatlemania at the time: they are “inviting Beatles fans to send in clips of home movies and photos that they acquired during this extraordinary period.” The website announcing the film has a submission form to suggest, and presumably donate, elements to the film, asking fans: “Were you there? Or were your parents or grandparents a part of Beatlemania? If you or someone you know has visual or audio materials that document the Beatles’ live tours, we want to hear from you! We are looking for rare or unusual footage, photographs, and audio recordings, particularly those that highlight the fan experience – what it was like to be a part of the frenzy.”
The film, as yet, has no name or release date.