Screenwriter Jack Barth has accused fellow screenwriter Richard Curtis of taking too much of the credit for the story behind the 2019 hit movie Yesterday.
The romantic comedy, which imagined a world without the Beatles and was directed by Danny Boyle, had its screenplay attributed to Richard Curtis.
However, in an interview with UPROXX, Jack Barth claims that he wrote it.
Jack Barth says he was crestfallen when Curtis took all the credit
Barth says he was angered when he learned that the British movie had allegedly marginalized his work and that Curtis was getting all the credit. Barth sold the rights for the screenplay to Curtis but believes he should have received more than just a “story by” credit.
He said: “I didn’t realize Richard was going to do this to me until the week that the film was released. Then all the publicity hit all at once, and I could see that he was taking credit for everything. I think I could have done something then, but I didn’t want to jeopardize the film. I got lawyers to contact Richard’s lawyers, and they just dragged it out.”
He added, “By the time I realized I needed to get the story out there myself, it was really hard to pitch something that was for a film that had come out eight months earlier. Most of the media is concerned with just promoting the current films; they’re not interested in a story about the abuse of the powerless by the powerful.”
Barth — who says he started writing his script, called Cover Version, in 2012 and 2013 — says that people don’t believe him when he says he wrote the screenplay, “I actually feel like Richard has damaged me financially,” he adds. “I write and say, ‘I’m the guy who created the film Yesterday,’ and they look and they go, ‘No, you’re not, that’s a Richard Curtis movie, you moron.'”
Richard Curtis says he heard only basic premise of screenplay
Curtis, for his part, has already addressed the issue by claiming that he only heard the basic premise of Barth’s script. However, Barth says that certain scenes in the movie, such as an imaginary meeting with John Lennon and a Harry Potter joke, were taken straight from his own screenplay.
Movie writer Kevin Lehane took to Twitter to back up Jack Barth; claiming that writers get “shafted a lot,” adding, “good on Jack Barth for speaking out.”
The thing on that Yesterday writer getting fucking shafted is that it happens a LOT and you can't really kick up too much fuss as no one will back you up. So always, ALWAYS remember that no one cares about your wellbeing more than you do. Good on Jack Barth for speaking out.
— Kevin Lehane (@KevinLehane) May 22, 2020
This year the British hit movie was 1917, a story about soldiers fighting in the trenches during World War One. Find out all the details on that movie epic right here.