Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
This weekend, the 28th and 29th of November, there’s a huge Beatles convention taking place in Stamford, Connecticut. Amongst all of the merchandise sales and other such typical expo shenanigans, there’s also set to be an open audition for Beatlemaniacs wanting to try out for casting in what they’re calling “The Fab Four.” Of course, that the film “will be shot as a motion-capture feature like the current Disney release of A Christmas Carol” tells us everything we need to know – this is Robert Zemeckis‘ remake of Yellow Submarine.
There’s already some suspicion, though, that this casting call is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Zemeckis has already talked about the possibility of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr playing themselves in the film, there’s been a number of previous auditions, and even stories of name actors being up for the roles, perhaps even cast in them already.
Jim Hill had the details on the Stamford Event, including a link to the Showfax page where one can purchase audition sides from the film. The sides have been given interesting titles – Buckingham Palace Scene, Help – Bar Scene and John, Paul, George and Ringo. There’s no Buckingham Palace Scene per se in the original film, though the building does make a brief cameo appearance. Infamously, John Lennon claimed The Beatles smoked a joint in the Buck House bathrooms when collecting their MBEs, though I’m pretty sure Zemeckis isn’t dramatising that, unless rather obliquely.
Neither is there a bar scene in the original Yellow Submarine, nor any use of the song Help. It’s now pretty clear that Zemeckis’ remake is taking some liberties with the original material, and I’m thinking that’s a really good thing. We already have the old Yellow Submarine, now it’s time for something new.
The only other scene we can pretty much lock down so far is a press conference. There’s a whole host of video reference supplied on a blogspot page set up to promote the auditions, including one headed JOHN LENNON – #1 VIDEO REFERENCE FOR NEWS CONFERENCE SCENE.
Also note that the mannerism references are clips from Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night in which the Beatles played versions of themselves. I guess that they didn’t suggest clips from the more psychotronic Help indicates a slightly less “wacky” tone for this new project.
Frankly, I’m excited to see Zemeckis formulating something fresh here and am rather intrigued to know who is writing the screenplay. I’ll be grateful to anybody out there who auditions, or has maybe already auditioned, and wants to drop me a line with what they know.
A report on The Examiner claimed that auditions, for the John Lennon role in particular, took place on October 12th. These do not appear to have been publicly announced, suggesting that they were peopled with jobbing actors and not mo-topped hopefuls from the great unwashed.
A new story from the UK’s Sun newspaper, who I’d reckon to have an accuracy rate of about only 60% when it comes to showbiz stories, claimed that Stephen Graham had been given the role of Ringo. Again, this is a far from routinely dependable source but this rumour seems esoteric enough to bear some consideration. I for one wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Graham confirmed eventually, though I know better than to expect it.
Here’s an image of Graham, should you not know the name. Of course, he doesn’t need to look the first bit like Ringo as the film will be motion captured.
The same story alleges that John Simm and Ralf Little also auditioned. Again, I find this more than plausible, though if just part of this story is made-up filler, it’s likely to be this bit.
I wouldn’t expect any official casting announcements this side of the open casting call, even if (or perhaps especially if) it is just a PR stunt, though with Yellow Submarine scheduled for a 2012 bow, the actors – whoever they are – are likely to be stepping into Zemeckis’ big motion capture volume very soon.