• Oh, I believe in Yesterday there’s a curious throwback to a Paul McCartney flub.
• Did screenwriter Richard Curtis nick a 28-year-old laugh line from Paul?
• There are no spoilers here about the movie, Yesterday
In an interview I did with Paul McCartney in 1991, he made a slip of the tongue that – 28 years ago — oddly anticipated one of the funniest lines in the new movie, Yesterday.
I’m giving away nothing here about Yesterday, if you haven’t seen it yet. (It’s now available on platforms like Amazon Prime and YouTube.) It’s about a young man in England who suffers an injury and wakes up to find that no one in the world knows of the Beatles nor their music. He starts performing it himself. In a scene that figures prominently in the widely available trailer, contemporary music star Ed Sheeran – playing himself – advises the musician to change the name of one song, “Hey Jude,” to “Hey Dude.”
I saw Yesterday when it opened in theaters in June. It wasn’t until about two and a half months later that I dusted off an old VHS cassette and watched a piece I did about Macca years ago. I’d forgotten about the surprise within.
The package that had aired on CNN’s Showbiz Today was about McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, a symphonic collaboration with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He also talked about a just-released documentary about his ’89-’90 tour. And here’s the “ooops”
An easy mistake to make, and Paul quickly recognized how funny it was. He just as quickly chuckled and moved on.
Now, I’m not going to label McCartney “gaffe-prone,” but I do remember telling people who asked me about the interview that he did briefly lose his train of thought once or twice during the half-hour taped chat. I jokingly wrote that off to his admitted consumption of a lot of marijuana over the years. Maybe I can use a similar excuse for my totally forgetting the “Hey Dude” slip, even after seeing the Ed Sheeran scene in Yesterday.
The thought occurs: Is it possible that Yesterday’s screenwriter, Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually) saw my 28-year-old interview – maybe on CNN International — and filed away that “Hey Dude” moment, waiting all this time to use it? That is, of course, an extremely far-fetched bit of speculation and I will not be petitioning for a writer’s credit.
See also: Paul thought he looked “too old”