Peter Jackson to direct music video for “final” Beatles song using newly unearthed footage
Peter Jackson has directed his first-ever music video, creating the visual accompaniment for the long-awaited “final” Beatles song.
The highly anticipated track titled ‘Now And Then’ was made after both surviving members, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, joined forces once again to make the last-ever track to feature all four members of the band.
Now, it has been confirmed that the new song will come with an official music video, directed by Peter Jackson and comprised of archived footage of the Fab Four.
Made alongside Apple Corps Ltd., Capitol and UMe, the project will mark the first music video the filmmaker has ever worked on, and follows on from his work on the 2021 documentary series about the band titled The Beatles: Get Back.
“When Apple asked me to make the music video, I was very reluctant – I thought my next few months would be a hell of a lot more fun if that tricky task was somebody else’s problem, and I could be like any other Beatles fan, enjoying the night-before-Christmas anticipation as the release of a new Beatles song and music video approached,” he said in a press release, explaining how the project arose.
“To be honest, just thinking about the responsibility of having to make a music video worthy of the last song The Beatles will ever release produced a collection of anxieties almost too overwhelming to deal with,” he added, saying that he later used the lack of relevant footage of the members as an excuse to try and shy away from the project.
“A Beatles music video must have great Beatles footage at its core. There’s no way actors or CGI Beatles should be used. Every shot of The Beatles needed to be genuine,” he added.
This concern was quickly combatted, Jackson revealed, confirming that the forthcoming music video will combine both new footage of McCartney and Starr, as well as 14 hours of newly-unearthed footage of the members together in 1995.
“I found myself swept along as they quickly addressed my concerns. Paul and Ringo shot footage of themselves performing and sent that to me. Apple unearthed over 14 hours of long forgotten film shot during the 1995 recording sessions, including several hours of Paul, George and Ringo working on ‘Now And Then’, and gave all that to me,” he revealed.
“Sean [Lennon, John’s son] and Olivia [Harrison, George’s wife] found some great unseen home movie footage and sent that. To cap things off, a few precious seconds of The Beatles performing in their leather suits, the earliest known film of The Beatles and never seen before, was kindly supplied by Pete Best.”
Elsewhere in his statement, the filmmaker confirmed that the project was put together with the help of Jabez Olssen, who also worked on the Get Back docu-series, and also enlisted George Harrison’s son Dhani to capture the right atmosphere for the track.
“I realised we needed the imagination of every viewer to do what we couldn’t, and have each viewer create their own personal moment of farewell to The Beatles… Fortunately, Dhani Harrison happened to be visiting NZ at this time. I discussed the ending with him, and described one vague idea I’d been toying with. His eyes immediately filled with tears – so that is the way we went,” he recalled.
“Luckily we found a collection of unseen outtakes in the vault [too], where The Beatles are relaxed, funny and rather candid. These become the spine of our middle section, and we wove the humour into some footage shot in 2023,” he added. “The result is pretty nutty and provided the video with much needed balance between the sad and the funny.”
The Peter Jackson-directed music video for ‘Now And Then’ will premiere worldwide on Friday (November 3) at 2pm GMT – just one day after the song is released. It will be available to watch on The Beatles’ official YouTube channel.
The basis of the track stems from an idea John Lennon wrote and recorded with just his piano and vocals in the late ’70s. In 1994, his widow Yoko Ono gave the recording to McCartney, George Harrison and Starr.
As well as the song and upcoming music video, The Beatles are set to release new expanded editions of ‘1962-1966 (The Red Album)’ and ‘1967-1970 (The Blue Album)’, mixed in stereo and Dolby, next Friday (November 10).
‘Now And Then’ has been teased with images of a cassette tape across social media and online as well as via projections in the Fab Four’s native Liverpool.
Meanwhile, an extended edition of The One Show on BBC One tomorrow evening (November 1) will include a poignant short film about the song, written and directed by Oliver Murray.