‘The Beatles: Get Back’: How Peter Jackson Found 60 Hours of Unseen Fab Four Footage

The “Lord of the Rings” director spun a meeting with The Beatles’ business managers into a documentary pitch


“The Beatles: Get Back” director Peter Jackson’s gargantuan feat of compiling 60 hours of never-before-seen footage of the Fab Four’s “Let It Be” recording sessions — as well as new interviews with Paul McCartney and others who were at the scene 52 years ago — actually began as a different project altogether.

In an interview with The Guardian last week, Jackson said he was sought out by Apple Corps – the company which has handled The Beatles’ business affairs since 1968 – because of his interest in virtual and augmented reality technology. There may have been a plan to create an interactive museum experience at some point.

But when it came to The Beatles, Jackson’s interests were elsewhere: in the footage that director Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot during the six weeks they recorded their 12th and final studio album release, “Let It Be,” which became a film of the same name in 1969.

When Apple Corps acknowledged the existence of unseen footage of Lindsay-Hogg’s controversial film in 2000, there were many attempts by many people to retrieve it. However, nothing ever came to fruition until now.

“I just can’t believe it exists,” Jackson told The Guardian. “But then I can’t believe any of it – that The Beatles let Michael shoot all that footage, that it sat in a vault all this time …”

After Jackson committed to the project, he began interviewing McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon’s son Sean Lennon, Dhani, George Harrison’s son, as well as Lindsay-Hogg. While researching the period, he also visited the Savile Row rooftop where the band performed the album and spoke with police officers who shut the performance down.

Before Jackson could get to editing the six hours of footage, a team of four people spent four years restoring the footage, frame-by-frame. He says the original cut was 18 hours long, thanks to the sheer amount of footage available.

“The Beatles: Get Back” is currently streaming on Disney+.