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Peter Jackson to Make New Beatles Documentary With Unused ‘Let It Be’ Footage

The filmmaker will follow "They Shall Not Grow Old" with another major archival documentary.

The Beatles

PBS

Peter Jackson has found his next project: The “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker is making a new documentary about The Beatles, Variety reports. The project will repurpose 55 hours of unused footage shot in 1969 for The Beatles’ 1970 film “Let It Be.” While no release date has been announced, Paul McCartney previously hinted that a new project was in the works to mark the film’s 50th anniversary. A thrilling proposition on its own, Jackson’s involvement will take the project to another level.

“The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us ensure this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”

Originally released in 1970, “Let It Be” followed the making of the legendary band’s final studio album. Shot in 16mm and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the movie includes footage of The Beatles’ final-ever public performance on the rooftop of Apple Corps HQ in central London. Released only on VHS and Laserdisc, the original film has effectively been lost for years. A planned restoration in 2000 was tabled due to disagreements between McCartney and Ringo Starr.

To restore the footage, Jackson will rely on techniques perfected on his highly acclaimed film, the World War I documentary “We Shall Not Grow Old.”

“After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure trove,” Jackson said. “Sure, there’s moments of drama, but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating. It’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate. … I’m thrilled and honored to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage. Making the movie will be a sheer joy.”

Executive producers for the new film are Ken Kamins for WingNut Films and Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde for Apple Corps.

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