Here’s Who Plays the Big Secret Role in ‘Yesterday’ (Spoilers)
This article spoils a very important secret about Yesterday's plot. You'll enjoy the movie more if you don't read this before you see the film.
The uncredited actor who plays John Lennon in the new movie Yesterday has been revealed to be Robert Carlyle. Best known as "Franco" in the Trainspotting movies, Carlyle also appeared in The Full Monty and as the dastardly Victor "Renard" Zokas in the 1999 James Bond movie The World is Not Enough.
The film centers on a struggling songwriter named Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel), who wakes up after a bus accident to learn that he's the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles and their music. Despite a guilty conscience, he begins passing their songs off as his own and quickly becomes a worldwide superstar. At a critical juncture in the movie, Malik briefly comes face to face with a 78-year-old, never-been-famous Lennon, who gives him life advice that proves central to the film's final resolution.
According to Polygon, director Danny Boyle confirmed Carlyle's involvement after Yesterday premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He explained the decision to have Lennon portrayed in the film rather simply: "This is what movies can do." Boyle also revealed that he asked for and received the approval of Lennon's widow Yoko Ono for the appearance, and that he didn't allow Patel to see Carlyle prior to the actual shooting of the scene in order to better replicate the surprise his character would be feeling at that moment.
In an interview with Slash Film, Yesterday writer Richard Curtis says he always knew Lennon's appearance would be "the pivotal scene" in the movie. "I knew there’d have to be some decisive thing which made [Malik] make the decision. And obviously at some point I feel that should be the moment when I play the card that I knew I had, that possibly the Beatles would still be there [in the world of Yesterday] but not having had the career [that they had in real life.]
“I found it was quite easy to imagine what John would it have been like," Curtis told Polygon. "I’m not saying it’s accurate, but we all read lots of interviews with him and his humor is very clear. ... we do all know John Lennon pretty well in our hearts and minds. So as I approached the scene, I just wrote, which I always do, a conversation.”
Watch the 'Yesterday' Trailer
Everything (Else) You Need to Know About the Beatles 'Yesterday' Movie