Yesterday film 2019: Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle's new rom-com starring Lily James

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Lucy Robson
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Yesterday Film 2019: Lily James and Himesh Patel

Legends of cult British film Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle are teaming up for Yesterday, the new rock and roll rom-com, starring Lily James and Himesh Patel. The movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2019 to a two-minute standing ovation, and if the first reviews are anything to go by, Yesterday is shaping up to be the cult film of the summer.

Fans of The Beatles (and Ed Sheeran!) get excited for Yesterday, the rock and roll film of summer 2019.

Now, Lily James and Ed Sheeran aren’t two names we would automatically put together, which was the first thing that piqued our interest when we heard about new musical rom-com, due out in June (but showing first at the Tribeca film festival on 4 May 2019).

The second (and most fundamental) was the pairing of two of the UK’s most legendary cinematic heavyweights behind some of the most cult and quintessentially British moves of all time - albeit in completely opposite ends of the comedy spectrum. 

Richard Curtis, alongside partner Emma Freud, has created some of the most adored, oft-quoted and re-watched romantic comedies of the past twenty years including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually Bridget Jones Diary & Notting Hill. Meanwhile, Danny Boyle has a tendency to veer towards the bleakest end of the dark comedy spectrum: he’s been at the helm of gory sci-fi ‘warning’ movies set in the not-too-distant-future, like 28 Days Later and Sunshine, not to mention one of the most iconic (but grim) British films ever made, the cult classic adaption of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. 

Needless to say, that the two could find some brilliant middle-ground (kind of) in this new film, with Richard Curtis producing and Danny Boyle directing, is exciting to say the least.

In addition to this, the casting of Eastenders actor Himesh Patel in the lead role - in a movie which isn’t focused on his cultural background - is being met with delight on social media already. 

Here is everything we know so far about new film Yesterday, including the plot, trailer, cast and release date. 

The Beatles perform on stage

Yesterday is set in a world without The Beatles

What is the film Yesterday about?

More than fifty years since the song was released, we still just cannot get enough of The Beatles. The premise for the new rock and roll rom-com, dreamed up by Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis, as you’ve probably guessed by the title, is inspired by that little-known anthem of the same name - ie. the single most covered song of all time in the Western world. 

The story follows singer-songwriter and Beatle fanatic Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel, who dreams of musical success and stardom. Just as he is beginning to accept that his lofty ambitions might be a little too large - and that it might take no less than a miracle to achieve his rockstar dreams, a freak bus accident occurs during a mysterious blackout.

The new post-blackout world in which Jack awakes is one where no-one has ever heard of The Beatles (except for Jack of course). That’s right, no fab four, yellow submarine, Eleanor Rigby and maybe even no swinging sixties as we know it. Queue Jack taking advantage of this opportunity to pass off all of The Beatles material as his own and take the world by storm, just imagine

But success beyond Jack’s wildest aspirations has its setbacks and before long he begins to lose touch with where he came from and the things most important to him.

Himesh Patel and Ed Sheeran Yesterday Film

Who is starring in Yesterday?

Himesh Patel takes the lead as one man Beatles cover band Jack, starring alongside woman-of-the-moment Lily James (Cinderella, Baby Driver, Mamma Mia! Here We Go again) who plays the devoted childhood friend who has always been unwavering in her support for Jack’s musical dreams.

American actress and SNL star Kate McKinnon stars as Jack’s ruthless agent, who thinks she has hit in the jackpot in ‘finding’ Jack and capitalising on all of the material he is seemingly miraculously coming up with on the spot. He even performs his Beatles covers on The Late Late Show, for the karaoke king himself, Jame Corden. 

Ed Sheeran, also appearing as himself in the film, can be seen in the trailer advising Jack that ‘Hey Dude’ works way better than Hey Jude, obviously. Wonder how Julian Lennon, who the song is actually named after will feel about that…

Is there a trailer for film Yesterday, starring Lily James and Ed Sheeran?

Yes! Watch the trailer for Yesterday 2019 below:

Where was Yesterday filmed in the UK?

Keen to put the spotlight on “forgotten” seaside towns on England’s East Coast, Boyle and Curtis decided to film in Suffolk where Curtis has a home. The main parts of the movie were shot along the coast from Gorleston to Clacton.

Location supervisor on Yesterday, Camilla Stephenson revealed Boyle’s desire to avoid “chocolate box settings,” adding that “Danny wanted to see the beauty, but not the quaint, English-village prettiness.”

Is there anything else I need to know about Yesterday the new film from Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle?

5,000 film extras were brought on where the movie was filmed (in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex) to participate in mass sing-a-longs of the Beatles hits. 

Is Yesterday showing at any of the big film festivals of the summer?

The world premiere of Yesterday premiered at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival on May 4 2019, to rave reviews and a two minute standing ovation for the two heroes of British cinema.

Danny Boyle has since spoken about the importance of film festivals, of the likes of Tribeca and Cannes, calling them “more and more crucial” in this world of streaming media on demand.

When will Yesterday be released in the UK?

Yesterday will then be released in UK cinemas on 28 June 2019.

Images: Getty Images


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Lucy Robson

Lucy Robson is an digital writer for, who enjoys chasing trends and writing about books, film, TV and other lifestyle and feminist news.

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