Peter Jackson gained access to almost 60 hours of never-before-seen footage of the Beatles’ Let It Be recording sessions in 1969 from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who produced the 1970 documentary of the same name.
Jackson expertly dissected, restored and colourised the footage to produce The Beatles: Get Back, which covers 21 days in early 1969 as the band record a new album and prepare for their first live performance together in three years – their iconic rooftop concert in London’s Savile Row.
However, Jackson has now suggested that perhaps it was for the best that he wasn’t there in person as he would have ‘read them [the Beatles] the riot act’.
He also said he empathised with Lindsay-Hogg, who he felt was ‘herding cats’ when it came to dealing with the legendary rock and roll band comprising of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon.
Speaking at a Q&A as part of the special IMAX release of The Beatles: Get Back – The Rooftop Concert on Sunday, Jackson said: ‘The poor guy was herding cats the whole time and I was just feeling so many times that I would have lost it!
‘I mean as much as I love the Beatles, I would have raised my voice at them a couple of times and read them the riot act because they would have driven me crazy, and Michael’s just so calm.’
Praising Lindsay-Hogg as ‘deserving the credit for all of this’ after inheriting his ‘incredible’ footage, the 60-year-old also admitted that he found it funny to watch another director struggle slightly when things veered off course.
‘I particularly enjoy seeing Michael twitch and squirm when things aren’t going quite his way; as a director I can sympathise with that and find it kind of funny.’
He added: ‘Some of my favourite bits in the rushes and the outtakes were Michael’s stuff because I don’t play in a band – I can love the Beatles and watch the Beatles like anyone – but crucially the person I was really relating to was Michael.’
The writer-director also shared one of his favourite quotes from the footage, which helped express Lindsay-Hogg’s sometime-frustration during the process.
‘My favourite Michael Lindsay-Hogg line is when somebody – Paul or Ringo or someone – asks how the filming’s going and he says, “Well, if the film’s going to be about chain smokers, nose pickers and a**e scratchers then it’s going to be fantastic.”’
Sounds like he’s not one to mince his words!
In his quest for authenticity, Jackson has previously shared how he managed to convince Disney to break its ‘non-swearing rule’ for The Beatles: Get Back on Disney Plus, as the three-part series includes some colourful language.
In an interview with Radio Times, Jackson, 60, explained: ‘We got Disney to agree to have swearing, which I think is the first time for a Disney channel. That makes them feel modern, too.’
The longest editing project of his career to date, The Beatles: Get Back took the filmmaker over two years to piece together in contrast to Lord of the Rings, where the films each took ‘three to four months’.
The state-of-the-art technology used to create Jackson’s stunning World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old is the same used in The Beatles: Get Back.
The Beatles: Get Back full series is available H E R E .
The Beatles: Get Back – The Rooftop Concert will be showing exclusively in IMAX cinemas across the UK from February 10 – 13, 2022.