"The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about," Peter Jackson said of the yet-to-be-named documentary
After decades of unavailability, the Beatles‘ 1970 documentary film Let It Be is getting a long-awaited reissue — and that’s not all.
Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson (famed for his groundbreaking Lord of the Rings trilogy) is assembling an additional, yet-to-be-titled documentary from 55 hours of outtakes shot in January 1969, while the Beatles were holding sessions for the album that would be released 18 months later as Let It Be.
“The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”
Not coincidentally, the news comes on the 50th anniversary of the band’s legendary concert on the roof of their Apple Records headquarters in central London — which served as both the finale of the film and the Beatles’ final live performance outside of the recording studio.
Both the album and documentary, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, were initially released in May 1970, weeks after the Fab Four formally announced their split. As a result, the project has earned a reputation as an unhappy one, rife with infighting and bitterness. However, Jackson got an altogether different interpretation upon viewing the footage.
“I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth,” continues Jackson, “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama — but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating — it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate.”
The project, which has the full cooperation of the surviving Beatles as well as Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, will reunite Jackson with producer Clare Olssen and editor Jabez Olssen — his collaborators for 2018’s innovative World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old.
A release date for Jackson’s documentary, and the restored Let It Be, are still to come.
Relive the Beatles’ first trip to America in 1964 with PEOPLE’s Celebrating Beatlemania! The Beatles special edition, available on Amazon and on newsstands now.