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Peter Jackson and Stephen Colbert Talking The Beatles: Get Back Is Delightful

Peter Jackson talking about the Beatles

The Beatles: Get Back offers us a rare look into the last year of The Beatles. Peter Jackson, who directed the over-7-hour docu-series that looks into the creation of the album Let It Be, sat down with Stephen Colbert to talk about the series as a whole. And while known Lord of the Rings superfan Stephen Colbert only briefly brought up his love of LotR, we did get a bit of insight from Jackson about the love that The Beatles had for J. R. R. Tolkien’s world, as well as his own connection to the band.

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For me personally, The Beatles: Get Back has been bittersweet. I grew up with the music and history of The Beatles because of my father, and with his passing, I have been left with this treasure trove of knowledge about them that he would have loved to see. Watching the documentary, I felt like I was getting an inside look into the band that made songs I grew up loving and gave me a love of music like no other. And it is thanks to Peter Jackson that we got to see this moment in history unfold before us.

The friendship of the Beatles

What we knew of the end of The Beatles was that there was friction, and many attributed their breaking up to Yoko Ono. As we all watched The Beatles: Get Back, it’s clear that that friction wasn’t as big of an issue as we all were made to believe. It is there and it is why the band eventually broke up, but it isn’t something that made them completely hate one another.

“This is, in many ways, a love story,” Colbert said, while Jackson responded that he agreed, and it is true. We know the power that John Lennon and Paul McCartney had together. Writing songs like “Let It Be” and “Across the Universe” came from years of the two working intimately with one another and being childhood friends. But their creative collaboration wasn’t built to last, and it is clear in the documentary that they simply grew apart, as tragic as it was.

“I had an appreciation for how utterly painful this must have been for Paul. Because he’s watching his closest creative collaborator, someone he’s known since they were fifteen or sixteen years old, start to drink and go towards Yoko Ono. John’s not pushing Paul away but Paul’s now watching Yoko become the creative collaborator that John’s excited about,” Jackson stated, and he’s right.

Paul McCartney has always been my favorite of the Beatles. He’s fun and vibrant and his brilliance paired with John Lennon is what made the Lennon/McCartney songs what they are. Seeing that relationship start to wane and the two of them begin to drift apart in the documentary was bittersweet and yet still showed us how much the two cared about each other, especially in their conversations where the two were talking about fixing their friendship.

If it came down to a life or death question and someone asked me whether Colbert could get through one moment of talking to Peter Jackson without bringing up Lord of the Rings, I would say no in a heartbeat, and I would be right. He constantly said he wouldn’t bring it up and yet did, and it was so gloriously Colbert of him to do so. But it also meant that we got to have a conversation about how the band was fans of Tolkien’s work.

The Beatles wanted to do their own version of a Lord of the Rings movie that would eventually, decades later, go to Jackson and his creativity. But they did cast themselves and it is wonderfully perfect, as Jackson points out. “Well, obviously Paul is Frodo,” and yes, he is. There’s no denying that.

Peter Jackson also brought up that he thinks the documentary footage is now available because the remaining Beatles realized that it is time history took over instead of their personal feelings. In fact, there’s a part of the series that Paul McCartney wished he would have known in 1969 because it could have resulted in the Beatles staying together.

There is plenty more to the interview between Colbert and Jackson that is worth the watch because it is clear that Peter Jackson came from a place of love and appreciation for the band while making this, and he gave audiences a look into the world of the Beatles like never before.

(image: YouTube)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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