Who Should Play John, Paul, George and Ringo in the Beatles Movies?

Who should play the Fab Four?

After director Sam Mendes announced Tuesday that he plans to make four separate movies about the Beatles, one from the perspective of every member of the most famous band in history, every actor with a serviceable Liverpool accent and the ability to carry a tune is burnishing their resumes and hoping to score an audition.

The Beatles

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But John, Paul, George and Ringo were icons for a reason. Finding the right actor to play each of them will be nearly impossible because so few people have that rare combination of singing ability, sex appeal, charm and that certain something that separates pop music deities from the merely talented. So with that in mind, here’s a list of actors who might have what it takes to bring moviegoers along on a magical mystery tour.

John Lennon Sam Claflin

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Best Known For: Joining the rebellion in the “Hunger Games” films, then melting hearts in “Me Before You.”


Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: He channeled his inner rock god in “Daisy Jones & the Six,” the Amazon mini-series in which he did his own singing as the leader of a band.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: He’s got the charisma, but can he capture Lennon’s darker side?

John Lennon Aaron Taylor Johnson


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Best Known For: Battling primordial monsters in “Godzilla,” entering the Avengers’ orbit for a hot second in “Age of Ultron,” and taking a pretty memorable bathroom break in “Nocturnal Animals,” which earned him a Golden Globe.
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: More than a decade ago, he played Lennon as a teenager in “Nowhere Boy,” perfectly channeling his moody intensity.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: Been there, done that.


John Lennon Paul Dano

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Best Known For: Playing Spielberg’s pops in “The Fabelmans,” going toe-to-toe with Daniel Day-Lewis as a deranged preacher in “There Will Be Blood.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: Dano earned critical raves portraying another tortured musical genius, Brian Wilson, in “Love & Mercy.”
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: He’s from New York City, not Liverpool.

John Lennon Kit Connor

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Best Known For: Falling in teen love in “Heartstoppers.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: At 19, he wouldn’t need any CGI trickery to channel Lennon as he forms the Quarrymen or begins to make a name for himself (and the Beatles) in Hamburg.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: …but he’d definitely need prosthetics to play Lennon as the Beatles dissolve and he cooks up solo hits like “Imagine” and hosts his bed-ins for peace.

Paul McCartney Jacob Elordi

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Best Known For: Attending the world’s most dysfunctional high school in “Euphoria,” being the object of Barry Keoghan’s perverse affections in “Saltburn.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: Elordi took on music legend Elvis Presley in “Priscilla” and left audiences all shook up.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: Having tackled the King of Rock, he might not be up for playing another cultural idol.

Paul McCartney Jamie Bell

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Best Known For: Sticking the landing as a dancing prodigy in “Billy Elliot,” surviving Skull Island in “King Kong.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: Bell is a great actor, who has had an accomplished career. A showy role like this could catapult him to the next level of stardom.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: At 37, he might be a little too gray-around-the-temples to play McCartney at the height of “Beatlemania.”

Paul McCartney Tom Holland

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Best Known For: Spinning webs and grappling with multiverses in the Spider-Man movies.
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: After the blockbuster success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” Holland could pitch himself as Yoko Ono, and the films’ producers would say, “yes.”
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: More Spidey sequels could create scheduling conflicts. And he’s probably too expensive.

George Harrison Timothee Chalamet

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Best Known For: Doing unspeakable things to a peach in “Call Me By Your Name,” taking sandworms for a spin in the “Dune” films, and inhabiting a world of pure imagination in “Wonka.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: “Wonka” proved that Chalamet’s name above the title is enough to draw crowds. As the rare twenty-something movie star with a rabid fanbase, he understands the kind of passion that the Beatles inspired at their height (just witness the screams that greet Timmy every time he struts down a red carpet).
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: He’s set to play Bob Dylan in James Mangold’s “A Complete Unknown,” which chronicles the artist as he first plugs in his electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. That might be one too many trips through the counterculture.

George Harrison Asa Butterfield

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Best Known For: Serving as a teenage Dr. Ruth in “Sex Education,” helping Martin Scorsese make a rare family-friendly film with “Hugo.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: Butterfield has the chops to play Harrison, a prickly genius who bristled at being overshadowed by Lennon and McCartney. Plus, Butterfield makes and produces music, so he may be able to pull off a convincing cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: Having just wrapped up four seasons of “Sex Education,” does he really want to sign up for four Beatles’ films?

George Harrison Dhani Harrison

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Best Known For: Composing the music for “Beautiful Creatures,” being a member of bands like Thenewno2 and Fistful of Mercy, serving as a model for the Gap.
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: His father was George Harrison. Clearly, he has a personal connection to the material.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: At 45, he’s probably a member of the wrong generation. Moreover, can he act?

Ringo Starr Barry Keoghan

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Best Known For: Slurping Jacob Elordi’s left-over bath water in “Saltburn,” as well as for his Oscar-nominated turn as a lonely villager in “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: Keoghan is a shape-shifter, whose talent knows no boundaries. Bonus: He has the kind of twitchy magnetism that made Starr so irresistible.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: Does he share the drummer’s droll sense of humor?

Ringo Starr Daniel Radcliffe

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Best Known For: Hogwarts’ most famous alum has demonstrated there’s life beyond “Harry Potter” with Broadway turns and colorful indie roles like the farting corpse he brought to cinematic life in “Swiss Army Man.”
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: At 5’5, Radcliffe is diminutive like Starr, and has demonstrated his musical chops in revivals of “Merrily We Roll Along” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: But is he too famous? After all, it’s hard for an icon to play another icon.

Ringo Starr Daniel Day-Lewis

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Best Known For: Being the greatest actor who ever lived.
Why He’d Make Beautiful Music: He’s Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s portrayed rapacious oil barons, 19th-century gang leaders, boxers, fashion designers, even Abraham Lincoln. He could play all the Beatles more convincingly than the real Beatles.
Why He Hits the Wrong Notes: He’s much too old. Plus, in case you haven’t heard, he’s retired.


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