The plot of Yesterday, the upcoming Working Title film that follows a man suddenly thrust into a world without The Beatles who decides to steal the credit for their masterpieces of pop, may itself be the result of theft. Graphic novelist Dave Blot has come forward on comic-centric site Bleeding Cool to shine some light on what he perceives as the theft of the concept created by himself and artist Jérémie Royer. The case he makes, especially when comparing the story outlines, is extremely compelling.
The movie from Academy Award®-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) and Richard Curtis, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill, follows Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC’s Eastenders), a struggling musician who wakes up after a world wide blackout to find he is the only person alive who remembers the music of The Beatles. Seizing the opportunity to parlay their iconic songs into pop super-stardom for himself, he risks losing the one woman who believed in him all along. As high premise romance movies go, it’s fairly imaginative….or is it?
The 2011 Yesterday graphic novel from Blot and Royer follows John Duval, a Frenchman from New York who finds himself inexplicably transported back to the early sixties. Though at first embracing his situation, he encounters a series of depressing set backs, including having his girlfriend cheat on him with no less than Bob Dylan. At a low point, Duval dejectedly sings the title song to himself. In a flash he is inspired to beat John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to the punch. Forming his own band , named, cheekily, The Futurians, he closely parallels the rocket to world wide idols of the artists whose work he’s stolen.
The French creators are pleading their case in a unique way, fighting first in the court of public opinion. They’ve made their graphic novel available for free download in the original French HERE and in a translated English edition HERE. We’re including the trailer and some choice panels from the graphic novel to give you a sense of the similarities for yourself.
Given the seemingly eternal popularity of The Beatles catalog, the presence of a high profile supporting cast like pop star Ed Sheeran and Saturday Night Live lead Kate McKinnon and the buzz around the film it looks like the cinematic Yesterday is poised to do very well at the box office. At this point comic creators Blot and Royer are likely rooting for the Boyle film to break the bank so that the ensuing legal settlement will be all the sweeter. The best things in life may well be free, but the film producers may well be paying the comic creators a lot of money, which, we are guessing, is what they want.
Yesterday (2019) Movie Trailer:
Yesterday (2011) Graphic Novel Excerpts:
And just for fun, check out this fun meeting Duval has with Lennon and McCartney, who marvel at his song writing prowess while seeming scared by the mania shown by his legions of fans.