Director Danny Boyle and actor Himesh Patel have both defended a controversial scene in their film Yesterday following an online backlash.
*Warning: contains spoilers for Yesterday*
In the film, Patel’s character Jack wakes up to discover that no one can remember The Beatles, which later inspires him to utilise their back catalogue and become an overnight pop star himself — although it turns out that international stardom wasn’t what he expected.
Later in the film, he meets a mysterious figure who turns out to be John Lennon, who was never assassinated in this alternate universe.
Some viewers branded the scene as poor taste, arguing that invoking Lennon’s memory in that way was a misstep on the part of the filmmakers.
However, speaking to RadioTimes.com on the red carpet for the South Bank Show Awards on Sunday, Boyle said that he “never had any doubts about [the scene] at all”.
“It was a wonderful, integral part of the script, and that was a real kind of honour to do that really, and sets — it sets off different feelings in different people, yeah. For sure. Many, many people love it as well, yeah.”
Boyle also described the film as a “love letter” to the Beatles: “It’s a love story really, but within it is a love letter to their music, though an unusual prism obviously: their disappearance.”
Patel also defended the “divisive” scene with John Lennon, telling RadioTimes.com, “I think of course it was going to be divisive, but I think it’s a very beautiful scene, I’m very proud.
“I think it’s something we’ve run past everyone we needed to run it past, and they clearly responded well to it, so that’s important to us. I’m glad there’s been a lot of positive reaction.”