Disney Tried to Force Peter Jackson to Take the Swearing Out of “The Beatles: Get Back”
The company eventually caved when Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Olivia Harrison pushed back
Disney is best known for its G-rated, wholesome films aimed at children, and the House of Mouse generally has strict parameters when it comes to the language allowed on its programming. But a gritty rock doc about a band of Liverpudlians on the verge of collapse is another thing entirely — one that no one in their right mind would expect to be free of swearing. Nevertheless, according to a new interview with director Peter Jackson, the company tried to scrub all the curse words out of The Beatles: Get Back.
As Jackson told the NME, Disney wanted to remove all the swearing from the three-part docuseries, but Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Olivia Harrison (the wife of the late George Harrison) pushed back and convinced them to keep it in.
“Paul describes it as being very raw,” Jackson said. “He said to me: ‘That is a very accurate portrayal of how we were then.’ Ringo said: ‘It’s truthful.’ The truthfulness of it is important to them. They don’t want a whitewash. They don’t want it to be sanitized. Disney wanted to remove all the swearing and Ringo, Paul and Olivia said: ‘That’s how we spoke. That’s how we talked. That’s how we want the world to see us.’”
In fact, the surviving members of the Beatles apparently didn’t want to remove anything from the doc; Jackson claims he didn’t receive any notes after screening the series for McCartney and Starr.
“When they got to see the finished thing, I was expecting notes,” he said. “It would’ve just been normal to get a note saying: ‘Oh, that bit where I say that — could you cut that out?’ Or ‘could you shorten the conversation there?’ And I didn’t get a single note. Not one request to do anything. One of them said that they watched it and found it one of the most stressful experiences of their entire life. ‘But I’m not gonna give you any notes.’”
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