Peter Serafinowicz is Paul McCartney in Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine"

BoingBoing readers who follow the work of British funnyperson Peter Serafinowicz (he of the soon-to-be-released DVD!) know the guy plays a mean Paul McCartney. Remember "I'll Kill"? Apparently, Robert Zemeckis agrees: the director cast Serafinowicz as McCartney in his 3D Disney remake of the animated Beatles classic Yellow Submarine.

sera.jpg John Lennon will be played by Dean Lennox Kelly (Shameless, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel), George Harrison by Cary Elwes (Christmas Carol, Princess Bride), and Adam Campbell (Epic Movie) is Ringo Starr. Although, as you can see from the "Peter Serafinowicz Show" clip above, Serafinowicz could have easily taken on all four roles. Physical performance of musical numbers will be mo-capped from Beatles tribute band Fab 4, but you'll be hearing the original songs recorded by the Beatles.

Serafinowicz is in Los Angeles this week, doing motion-capture for the 3D feature. This blogger spoke with him yesterday about the production. Without giving away too much of the still-under-wraps goods, I cautiously predict the project will hit vital nerd chakras for Boing Boing readers: edgy alt-comic talent, 3D animation and cool on-screen tech effects, and the cosmic Disney-Beatles vortex.

Related reports: Empire Online, Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, AICN, New York Times, MTV. (Thanks, Peter Serafinowicz!)

Yellow Submarine, 1968: IMDB, Wikipedia, Amazon.


  1. Love the Idea!
    Tho… They could do with-out the Beatles Tribute Band.

    Thinking about it, The idea of anyone else playing Eleanor Rigby Or any other Beatles tune for This movie makes me a bit ill.

    1. Okay, I read the new article, and the tribute band is being used to motion-perform the Beatles playing their instruments, NOT to replace the music.

      I had heard of this before, without the Beatles’ casting, but I had also heard that Zemeckis wanted to use mocap to make a sequel to Roger Rabbit. I hope that he just wants to mocap the live-action parts of Roger Rabbit and lets the toons still get to be real animation, but I can’t be sure.

  2. NOTHING good will come of this.
    The more that is written about this project, the worse it sounds. They aren’t even using The Beatles recordings?
    As if the use of mo-cap wasn’t bad enough.
    More lazy film-making from a one time genius.

  3. No, No, no. NO! I’m sure everyone involved is extremely talented, but my heart hurts to see this beloved classic turned into some gaudy contemporary thing.


  4. More Mo-cap animation crap, but this time it is being used to destroy a Beatles movie? Zemeckis needs to be locked away in the same dark room as Joel Schumacher.

  5. Somehow I can’t see Zemeckis pulling off something that’s actually trippy. That it’s also a Disney project doesn’t help. Some things really don’t need to be modernized or redone (see: The Grinch, Where the Wild Things Are, King Kong, etc.).

  6. < Goes back to Re-Read the Article >
    Damn.. Blew right over this Bit:

    “But in an odd twist, they won’t be needed for the musical numbers – that duty will fall to tribute band Fab 4, who will be playing along to actual Beatles tracks.”
    Via Empire Online.


    “Music for the remake will be provided by the Beatles tribute band Fab 4.”
    Via Xeni

    Someone screwed up lol

  7. Here’s hoping that we see more of the Robert Zemeckis who created Who Framed Roger Rabbit and less of the Robert Zemeckis who did all those creepily-animated motion capture films of more recent years. (What few snippets I’ve seen of A Christmas Carol do not fill me with confidence.)

  8. An important thing to remember is that the Beatles didn’t do the voices for the original movie – they were performed by actors. Still, the last thing I want is Zemeckis to film one of my favorite movies on location in the Uncanny valley.

  9. How this could turn out to be anything but an abomination is beyond me. While the original movie didn’t use the band members’ voices (except in the final awkward live-action scene), it at least used the original music. Why on earth would they use a tribute band to redo the music? What is the point of a Beatles movie with no trace of the Beatles in it?

    Oh, right…money. So what nerd chakra is that? It’s difficult to believe that anyone who admires the work of the Beatles would think well of this project. It’s Disney – what do you think they will do with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? I’m guessing they will do away with it completely now that McCartney admitted it really was about LSD. How else do you think it will be “improved”? Maybe Jeremy, the Nowhere Man, will be a ninja! I bet the Yellow Submarine will have a sassy computer voice, maybe done by Minny Driver! And I bet each of the Beatles will have some sort of personal character flaw they will learn to overcome during the movie. Ooh, I just can’t wait!


  10. I agree that Zemeckis is not exactly the psychedelic sort. And can CGI replicate the freakiness of the original?

    “I got a hole in me pocket!”

  11. To take a moment from the Zemeckis bashing, I have to say I really liked Peter Serafinowicz in both Spaced and Shaun of the Dead. He’s like a British James Spader from Pretty in Pink. And even though I hated Phantom Menace, he did a great job with the voice of Darth Maul.

  12. Interesting that after all the fuss Disney made over having open casting calls for tribute bands that the one they chose is the band that has been performing for years in Disneyland (in Tomorrowland of all places)

  13. The man who shat all over Dr. Seuss, teaming up with the company that shat all over the muppets (and everything else they touch) – featuring a man who’s going out of his way to make a joke of shitting all over the Beatles… in 3D!

    This is not a wonderful thing. It’s horrifying.

  14. I see that they are using the original music, which makes it a little less horrible. But this is still Zemeckis. The man is a Play Dough Fun Factory filled with Cheeze Whiz. I’m still betting that the Yellow Submarine will be a character with a voice. Maybe the Blue Meanies will be corporate fat cats out to rape the environment. And Jeremy Hillary Boob PhD will be a reclusive environmental scientist with the solution to global warming! (Zemeckis, if you’re reading this…I do not want credit for that idea!)

    Why doesn’t Disney do a remake of one of their own old animations? How about a 3D motion-capture remake of Snow White with Jim Carrey as all of the dwarves, and Miley Cirus as Snow White? Oh, right…that movie is a *classic*. Wouldn’t want to step on any toes.

  15. I guess they have to compete with Dreamworks’ “HOWL! The Imax experience” (featuring Jack Black as Moloch) and the Broadway version of Brazil.

    This has put me in an incredibly bad mood.

  16. Let’s be honest. This guy does a better Paul AND John than this Peter Serafinowicz dude.

    And his Bowie is hysterical too:

  17. I hate to dogpile on someone who’s obviously funny & talented, but NO. This movie is anathema, & he should take no pride in his involvement. And Zemeckis may have made two of my favorite movies of all time, those being Roger Rabbit and Back to the Future (four if you count the BTTF trilogy), but he has been creatively bankrupt for years. Bob, if by some fluke this reaches you, if you cannot come up with anything new, RETIRE before you sully your legacy any further.

  18. …What’s going to be *really* fun is that – and you kids remember this prediction – Boing Boing will be running a story about a guy who suffers a suicidal separation anxiety after watching this in Imax 3D while dropping a serious hit of acid, and not being able to accept that Pepperland isn’t real like his senses were telling him all during the film.

    Seriously, mark my words on this one.

  19. I don’t think anyone mentioned this but – Remember, the Beatles didn’t do the original voices as far as I can tell, they only did the music and the end comedy bit. Check IMDB.. So having good imitators is a good move sometimes…

  20. Can any of you read?

    “Physical performance of musical numbers will be mo-capped from Beatles tribute band Fab 4, but you’ll be hearing the original songs recorded by the Beatles.”

    The tribute band is being MOCAPPED for the movie, they’re not singing. They’re using the original Beatles recordings. As it says “YOU’LL BE HEARING THE ORIGINAL SONGS RECORDED BY THE BEATLES.”

    1. I seriously doubt they will be the actual recordings! Despite what this page says, EMI don’t allow anyone to use original Beatles recordings anymore. As a result films made in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s [excluding Beatles films} have been re-dubbed and replaced by inferior covers. This is a pipe dream. Although I hope I’m wrong!

  21. this is such a terrible idea. if we must be modern, make the cartoon 3-D, and remix the remixed songtrack to bring the bass back up to the levels it was originally intended to be, and maybe give ‘it’s all too much’ the mix it deserves. where is giles martin when you need him?

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