Peter Jackson will direct a Beatles documentary based on unused footage from 1970 feature Let It Be.
The project is produced by The Beatles’ Apple Corps (no relation to Apple Inc) and Jackson’s WingNut Films. It sees Jackson team up with his They Shall Not Grow Old producer Clare Olssen and editor Jabez Olssen.
The project will use around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot in 1969. These studio sessions produced The Beatles’ album Let It Be, which was released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up.
The footage will be restored by Park Road Post in Wellington, New Zealand, using techniques developed for the Bafta-nominated They Shall Not Grow Old.
The untitled film is in production, with no distributor or release date announced so far. The film is being made with the co-operation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison.
The executive producers are Ken Kamins for WingNut and Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde for Apple Corps.
The original Let It Be movie was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and hinted at tensions within the band. It has not been officially available since the 1980s. Apple abandoned plans to release it on DVD in 2007 because the footage was ”still controversial”, but said a restored version will be made available following the release of Jackson’s film.
“The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about,” said Jackson. “It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”
“I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth,” he added. “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama - but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating - it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate.”