Ron Howard is on board to direct a Beatles documentary that will highlight their touring years between 1960 and 1966. This as-yet untitled project will incorporate previously unseen footage from the concerts that was shot using Super 8 film. Howard plans on blending that footage with live audio recordings found through his access to the Beatles’s company Apple Corps., to recreate the experience of actually being at the concert.
Just as importantly, Howard will connect with the surviving stars of the band, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, to create an authentic account. The Beatles are one of the few bands that have made truly timeless music, and it has certainly been more than enough time since their last theatrical film. The last Beatles documentary was Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Let it Be (1970), and it mainly recounted the implications of their “Back to Basics” album.
Howard’s documentary will uniquely examine the band’s first performances at the Cavern Club in Liverpool all the way up to their final appearance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The film will also focus on the years between June 1964 and August 1966, when the Beatles performed 166 concerts in 15 countries and 90 cities, exploring the profound social and political influence of the band during this era.
It is no coincidence that the former child actor turned big-time director is taking on this project, as Howard has been a lifelong Beatles fan. As he tells it, “My 10th birthday was all about me getting a Beatles wig.” His fandom only grew after he saw the band on The Ed Sullivan Show. In talking about his motivation for this new documentary, Howard said, “Not only can we do a study of these touring years, the narrative of an odyssey, we can look at the significance of the Beatles as individuals – as musical geniuses, as societal leaders and their effect on global culture. Dramatically it makes a lot of sense and cinematically, we have a chance to offer a unique experience.”
This will not be the director’s first foray into documentary filmmaking, as he previously directed Made In America (2013), which explored Jay Z’s music festival, “Budweiser Made In America.” The producer, Nigel Sinclair, previously collaborated with Howard on Rush (2013), a film about Formula One rivals Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Sinclair’s past work in documentaries includes Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison: Living in The Material World (2011) and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005).
Although a specific release date has not yet been confirmed, Howard’s Beatles documentary will hopefully jam into theaters come late 2015.