Peter Jackson to Direct Beatles' "Now and Then" Music Video Featuring Previously Unseen Footage

He initially wanted to refuse the job in order to enjoy the song purely as a fan

BY Ben OkazawaPublished Oct 31, 2023

Despite having decades of experience behind the camera, Peter Jackson is still finding ways to break new ground. The Lord of the Rings director is set to make his music video debut with this week's release of the visuals for the final Beatles song, "Now and Then."

It feels like a natural move for Jackson, who previously helmed The Beatles: Get Back documentary and championed the use of AI tech that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr eventually employed to extract John Lennon's vocals from old demos for the production of "Now and Then."

In a lengthy statement shared today, Jackson said that he wasn't initially on board — but the Beatles wouldn't take no for an answer.

"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 continued, "I told Apple how the lack of suitable footage worried me. We'd need to use a lot of rare and unseen film, but there's very little … Nothing at all seemed to exist showing Paul [McCartney], George [Harrison] and Ringo [Starr] working on 'Now and Then' in 1995 … There's not much footage of John in the mid-seventies when he wrote the demo … I grizzled about the lack of unseen Beatles footage from the '60s."

He changed his tune, though, when Apple sent him "over 14 hours" of tape from 1995 recording sessions, Starr and McCartney sent him footage of themselves performing, and former Beatles drummer Pete Best shared "a few precious seconds" of never-before-seen footage performing. 

"Watching this footage completely changed the situation — I could see how a music video could be made," he said. "Actually, I found it far easier if I thought of it as making a short movie, so that's what I did… My lack of confidence with music videos didn't matter anymore if I wasn't making one." 

The "Now and Then" music video release is slated for November 3 at 10 a.m. ET, 24 hours after the song comes out.

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