EXCLUSIVE: 'I'm going to turn the Beatles into aliens!' Oscar whiz Harvey Weinstein reveals plans to get Macca, Ringo and Julian Lennon to star in sequel to hit animation movie
By SARA NATHAN
PUBLISHED: 26 February 2014
Movie honcho Harvey Weinstein has revealed plans to turn the remaining Beatles into aliens in a sequel to his hit animation movie, Escape from Planet Earth.
Mr Weinstein, 61, told MailOnline he wants Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Julian Lennon, the son of the late John Lennon, to appear as The Greys.
The original flick features The Greys - three aliens - who boast Liverpudlian 'Scouse' accents and aptly vow 'Let's never break up guys'.
And the producer said: 'I'm going to speak to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Julian Lennon, I want them to play The Greys on the next movie. The characters already speak like The Beatles and it would be really fun.
Royal friends: Producer Harvey Weinstein and his wife Georgina Chapman pose with Princess Beatrice at the Creative London Party in London on February 17
Reunited: Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr perform on stage at the Grammys in LA in January
Memories: Julian Lennon (second from right) joins the late George Harrison, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr and his brother Sean Lennon at the 1988 induction ceremony of the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York. He is a respected musician and artist in his own right
'Let's never break up guys': The Greys in Escape from Planet Earth are based on The Beatles and feature the same Liverpudlian accents
Escape from Planet Earth, which was released in the US last year and is released in the UK on March 7, is The Weinstein Company's first animated release.
And Mr Weinstein joked: 'It was the first movie where the actors didn't talk back to me!'
The film features Sarah Jessica Parker, Brendan Fraser, William Shatner, Ricky Gervais and Sofia Vergara, and the producer adds: 'I have five kids and for the first time in my life I was a rockstar at home, all my kids love the movie...as I get older the thought of entertaining the family is a fun idea.'
Mr Weinstein is dad to daughters Lily, 19, Emma, 16, and Ruth, 11, with ex-wife Eve Chilton, and daughter India Pearl, three, and baby son Dashiell, who was born last April, with wife Georgina Chapman.
'It's a family movie and as a dad who's taken his kids to so many movies I think I know how to make that kind of movie,' he says.
Last month, the movie bigwig - who has produced some of the most violent films to hit the silver screen in the last 30 years - pledged to choose projects that 'aren’t violent or as violent as they used to be' as he gears up to make a film that takes aim at the National Rifle Association.
Since announcing the as yet untitled project starring screen legend Meryl Streep, Mr Weinstein has come under sharp criticism from gun rights advocates, but told CNN'S Piers Morgan: 'Well, I think they have a point. You have to look in the mirror, too,’ Weinstein said. ‘The change starts here, it has already.’
When asked by the interviewer to expand on his pledge, Mr Weinstein clarified that he is not going to 'make some crazy action movie just to blow people up and exploit people.'
The mega-producer mentioned his plan to make an the anti-gun film with Streep during an interview with radio host Howard Stern last month, revealing: 'I shouldn’t say this, but I’ll tell it to you, Howard. I’m going to make a movie with Meryl Streep, and we’re going to take this head-on.'
Asked if his animated movie means we'll get to see a softer side to the man Madonna called 'The Punisher' and Oscar winner Meryl nicknamed 'God', he chuckles: 'It's a funnier side, definitely.
Interestingly, the film centers around the relationship of two alien brothers, Scorch and Gary.
Having worked with - and set up The Weinstein Company - with his brother Bob for many years, Mr Weinstein agrees: 'It is a little autobiographical, after all the fights they come together at the end, in the end family is everything - the family has to stick together.'
Family ties: Harvey and Bob Weinstein in New York in 2007. Producer Harvey has said his new movie, Escape From Planet Earth, has echoes of his relationship with his brother
Family affair: Escape from Planet Earth features two alien brothers - Scorch and Gary
With Disney's huge hit Frozen up for best animation at the Oscars on Sunday, Mr Weinstein says he aims to work on more animated movies - with the sequel to Escape from Planet Earth already in pre-production and set to be released in two years.
He said: 'It shows the sky's the limit - you don't have to be Disney or Pixar to be in this creative market place, to do this kind of storytelling.
'I went to see The Wind Rises (also up for an Oscar), it's an adult movie and it's gorgeous storytelling.
'And Escape from Planet Earth has been so successful we're going to make a sequel. We're going to get into animation in a big way, we already have two or three things in development now.'
Brit Stephen Fry has also written for the movie and will be on hand at a London screening tomorrow , attended by Mr Weinstein, with Brit stars Holiday Grainger, Lilly James, Freddie Fox and Olivia Coleman.
With the biggest showbiz weekend of the year upon us, Mr Weinstein will then fly on to Los Angeles to attend the Oscars on Sunday to support his nominated movies.
He says: 'It's going to be the tightest race in years, it's exciting....one has to be realistic, but one can dream too!'
Perennial Oscar powerhouse The Weinstein Company has 11 nominations, nine for TWC releases and another two for its boutique company Radius-TWC.
Awards season: Harvey Weinstein and wife Georgina Chapman - who runs fashion line Marchesa - will be at the Oscars on Sunday. The pair are seen here at the Baftas in London earlier this month
TWC's biggest nomination getter is Philomena, which picked up four noms, for best picture.
best actress, best adapted screenplay and best original score.
Asked if Dame Judi Dench, the star of Philomena, will be able to make it to the awards, Mr Weinstein says: 'We're trying to get her there.'
The film is based on the true life of Philomena Lee who was forced to give up her son as a teenage, unwed mother in Ireland in the 1950s - and then left distraught after she discovered the nuns at Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea had sold off her boy.
It has now been viewed by Monsignor Guillermo Karcher, one of the Pope's top aids, and Mr Weinstein said: 'There is already progress with the Irish Government, it's been a huge success and I think Philomena is going to get her adoption records unsealed by the Vatican.'
The distributor also got two each for August: Osage County - best actress for Meryl Streep and best supporting actress for Julia Roberts - and The Grandmaster - for best cinematography and costume design. It also got one for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - best original song for U2 for Ordinary Love.
Meanwhile, Radius-TWC got feature documentary nominations for Cutie and the Boxer and 20 Feet From Stardom - the story of backing singers who have never quite found fame - and Mr Weinstein laughs: 'I've told the ladies to get up on stage if they win, never mind the producer, they have to get up on stage!'
He adds: 'It's been a great year for movies, there are so many great films and that's what it's all about.'
Nominated: Philomena, released by The Weinstein Company, has four Oscar nominations, including a Best Actress nomination for Dame Judi Dench. However, it's as yet unknown whether the star - pictured with Steve Coogan - will be able to attend the ceremony on Sunday
Nominated: U2 have already picked up the Golden Globe best original song for Ordinary Love from the movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, produced by The Weinstein Company. They're nominated for best song at the Oscars on Sunday