The mystery of who plays John Lennon in Yesterday - actor’s identity kept quiet!

John Lennon being interviewed by journalist Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental magazine, Apple Records, London, 19th July 1971.

Yesterday is released in cinemas today! But there's a cameo in the film that we just can't get our heads around

Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis's Yesterday hits cinemas over the weekend and fans of both The Beatles and Curtis's trademark romcoms are in for quite the treat.

Yesterday sees Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling musician, become the world's biggest pop star after an accident leaves him as the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles.

The film treats us to renditions of a whole plethora of Beatles songs that must've cost an absolute fortune to license and the surprise appearance of one Beatle no one expected to see. [Spoilers ahead for Yesterday] 

What is John Lennon doing in Yesterday?

If you have already seen Yesterday, you'll know that Jack Malik does indeed come across one of The Beatles on his magical mystery tour.

However, while many in the lead-up to the film speculated that either of the last living Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, would be making an appearance in the film, it is, in fact, John Lennon who makes a surprise cameo in Yesterday, or at least an actor playing him.

Despite being teased in the trailers, McCartney and Starr are nowhere to be seen in the film, save for one brief shot in a sort of dream/nightmare sequence Jack experiences.

Yesterday James Corden Scene

Instead, John Lennon, who was never shot and killed in 1980 in this alternate timeline, appears just before the film's final act and offers some wise words of encouragement for the out-of-his-depth Jack.

In the film, we learn that Lennon, who is now 78 and living out his life as an artist, has enjoyed a happy and carefree life as The Beatles never came to be.

However, one thing has been bugging us ever since we saw Yesterday.

Portrait of British musician John Lennon (1940 - 1980) (center) and his wife, artist and musician Yoko Ono (extreme left) as they attend an unspecified rally in Hyde Park, London, England,...

The mystery behind John Lennon's cameo

In the run up to the film's release, John Lennon's cameo appearance was kept a huge secret.

As a result, the actor behind the cameo was kept quiet as well, not appearing on any of the film's cast lists in the run up to the film's release, but why?

The answer is quite simple. It's because the filmmakers didn't want people to know about the cameo before heading into the film - I for one was left with my jaw gaping wide open when he appeared on screen and that's exactly what Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis were aiming for.

Since the release of the film, however, keen-eyed movie fans have taken little time in pointing out that the actor behind John Lennon's Yesterday cameo is, in fact, Robert Carlyle who has worked with the film's director, Danny Boyle, on the likes of Trainspotting in the past.

Carlyle is almost unrecognisable as Lennon thanks to some brilliant work at giving him John Lennon's signature look, right down to the iconic circular glasses. 

Danny Boyle's Yesterday was released in cinemas across the UK on June 28th, 2019, and, if you haven't already seen it, it'll undoubtedly leave a smile on your face, even if the concept of a world without The Beatles is a little too hard to believe.

Yesterday Header

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