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    Who should play John, Paul, George and Ringo for Sam Mendes?

    The Beatles in 1963 Photo: Getty

    Who would you choose to play the Beatles in a film about their lives? The problem is, it's hard to improve on perfection—and in 2007's Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, which gave us Paul Rudd as John Lennon, Jack Black as Paul McCartney, Justin Long as George Harrison, and Jason Schwartzman as role of Ringo Starr, what we got was far from perfect.

    “I’m tired of you being so gloomy and me being so mischievous and moody,” Black mutters to Rudd, knocking his bandmate to the floor as the group bickers during a meditation retreat. “I have a song about an octopus,” Schwartzman echoes, trying to keep the peace while Long thinks he’s just sitting there, his guitar whining quietly.

    Somehow, the producers of Sam Mendes' upcoming quartet of Beatles biopics will have to top this. It was announced this week that Mendes, the director of Skyfall and 1917, will direct four interconnected films due for release in 2027 that will collectively tell the extraordinary story of the group. Each will be filmed from the perspective of one of its members, so it will require four lead actors who will not only be convincing as their Beatles, but can carry an entire feature-length film on their shoulders while transitioning into character roles in the film. three more.

    Future John? Timothée Chalamet Photo: WireImage

    Casting the Beatles is like casting James Bond in a dream: It's hard to know whether people really want credible offers or just a list of famous names. And given the scale of Mendez's project, trust is critical. These days, few young actors are more capable of directing a movie than Timothée Chalamet, who at first glance might seem like a possible John.

    But nothing works out: it will be too expensive to invite him to star in four films, in three of which he will not even play the main role; as an American, the inevitable backlash to the casting wouldn't have cost him the trouble; and he's already vowed to play Bob Dylan in James Mangold's Total Unknown – the sort of clear-cut solo star vehicle that someone of Chalamet's age and profile would be far more likely to cast. Same with Paul Mescal as Paul: after being nominated for an Oscar for his work in a tiny indie and then landing the lead role in Gladiator 2, it's not going to happen. You might as well add Brad Pitt as Ringo or Denzel Washington as Pete Best.

    Jack O&# 39;Connell with George Clooney in the movie “Money Monster” Photo: Atsushi Nishijima

    Aside from the fact that the actors are young (remember, The Beatles broke up when the band was in their mid-20s), the actors will have to be equally at home in both star and character roles, which narrows the field considerably. For John, you'll need someone with boundless charisma, but also a frightening aloofness or weirdness: perhaps Barry Keoghan (although after Saltburn he already feels beyond that) or Jack O'Connell, who showed some of these qualities of God's Lonely Man. in Andrew Hay's series “Northern Water”.

    Then there is Paul, who is supposed to be the opposite: warm and immediately likeable, perhaps with a touch of innocence to counter the determination and genius. For that, you can look to Jeremy Irvine, somewhere between his Ivor Novello in The Blessing of Terence Davies and his Albert Narracott in War Horse, or Asa Butterfield somewhere around his Sex Education role. Alternatively, Mendes could use the excuse to reconnect with 1917's George MacKay.

    George Mackay in 1917 Photo: Alamy

    George is a tougher choice, not least because, as Walk Hard noted, he's the quietest. Here you need an actor for whom interiority comes naturally: say Harris Dickinson or Fionn Whitehead. And then comes the nightmare of finding your Ringo – a man who can apparently play comic relief in three films before digging deeper into his own. Normal People's Fionn O'Shea is a good choice here, as is The OA's Patrick Gibson, who hit both of those notes in the recent family fantasy adventure The Portable Door.

    But let's not forget that Mendes might well have preferred to play relatively unknown characters: in some ways, he's looking for the rock-biographical equivalent of The Avengers here; so since the group's brand is a box office drawer in itself, there is no need to look for big names. So let's turn instead to the newcomers – those young actors who have shown a glimmer of fitness, and perhaps little more, but who in 2027 may well find themselves at the same level of fame as the names above who are now.

    So, if I were his casting director, this is who I would ask for the tape. John Lennon is played by 22-year-old Samuel Bottomley, who was nominated for best supporting actor at last year's BIFA for How to Have Sex. As Paul McCartney, Keith Connor's 19-year-old love interest in the Netflix series Heartstopper.

    George Harrison is played by Stephen MacMillan, a Scottish actor in his early 20s who played the troubled young pastry chef Jamie in Philip Barantini's Boiling Point. And as Ringo Starr is 20-year-old Louis Partridge, who played Sid Vicious in Danny Boyle's Pistol and showed a flair for comedy in Enola Holmes, although he may have to tone down his smoldering chalamé a little.

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