Two of Us (2000 television)

Two of Us (2000 television)

Infobox Film
name =Two of Us

caption =
director = Michael Lindsay-Hogg
producer = Deborah Ann Henderson
Robert Aaronson
Leon Falk
writer = Mark Stanfield
starring = Aidan Quinn
Jared Harris
music = David Schwartz
cinematography = Miroslaw Baszak
editing = Norman Buckley
distributor = VH1
released = February 1 2000
runtime = 89 minutes
language = English
country = United States
budget =
url =
gross =
url =
preceded_by =
amg_id = 1:275441
followed_by =
imdb_id = 0228979

:"For other uses, see Two of Us".

"Two of Us" is a 2000 television drama (and the third original VH1 film [ [ MTV, VH1 Roll Out Pop Programming] ] ) which offers a fictionalized account of 24 April 1976 (six years after the break-up of The Beatles), the day in which Lorne Michaels made a statement on "Saturday Night Live" offering The Beatles $3000.00 to reunite on his program.

It was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg (who also directed the 1970 "Beatles" film, "Let it Be)" and starred Jared Harris as John Lennon and Aidan Quinn as Paul McCartney. The Beatles historian, Martin Lewis, served as the film's technical advisor, and the screenplay was written by "longtime Beatles fan and Beatlefest attendee, Mark Stanfield." [ [ TWO OF US - A VH1 ORIGINAL MOVIE] ]

The title of the film comes from the 1970 Beatles song, "Two of Us" by Lennon/McCartney.

Historical background

There was great public demand for a Beatles reunion during the 1970s. On April 24, 1976, comedian Lorne Michaels made a statement on "Saturday Night Live" that he would pay The Beatles $3000.00 if they would perform on his program together. [ [ SNL Transcripts: Beatles Offer, April 24, 1976] ] John Lennon discussed the "Saturday Night Live" episode, as well as his relationship with McCartney, in a September 1980 interview for "Playboy":

:Paul and I were together watching that show. He was visiting us at our place in the Dakota. We were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag. We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired [...] That was a period when Paul just kept turning up at our door with a guitar. I would let him in, but finally I said to him, 'Please call before you come over. It's not 1956 and turning up at the door isn't the same anymore. You know, just give me a ring.' He was upset by that, but I didn't mean it badly. I just meant that I was taking care of a baby all day and some guy turns up at the door. . . . But, anyway, back on that night, he and Linda walked in and he and I were just sitting there, watching the show, and we went, 'Ha-ha, wouldn't it be funny if we went down?' but we didn't. [ [ John Lennon: The 1980 Playboy Interview] ]

Paul McCartney also remembered the event for an interview: " [John] said, 'We should go down there. We should go down now and just do it.' It was one of those moments where we said, 'Let's not and say we did.' " [ [ VH1 The Beatles: And in the End...] ]


"Two of Us" opens with the following introduction:

The screenplay consists of a series of long conversations between John Lennon and Paul McCartney (while their wives, as well as other Beatles, are referred to they do not appear in the production). The discussions between Lennon and McCartney explore a number of issues including the breakup of The Beatles and the difficulties that developed between them after Lennon married Yoko Ono. According to Lindsay-Hogg, "most of the film [consists of] two men and four walls . . . you can't get more intimate than that." [A Day in the Life (That Might Have Been)" "Newsday"]

Critic Kevin McDonough argues that, "in less talented hands, "Two of Us," like any Beatles-reenactment movie, could have been an awful exercise in bad wigs and Liverpool accents. Instead, Lindsay-Hogg and first-time screen writer Mark Stanfield have created a small masterpiece, a variation on "My Dinner With Andre" meets The Beatles." [ [ McCartney, Lennon meet again in VH1 movie "Two of Us"] ]

tructure and characters

Critic David Bianculli likened "Two of Us" to a three-act play with the following structure:

:Act I: "McCartney, on the New York leg of his world tour with his post-Beatles group Wings, arrives unannounced at Lennon's Dakota apartment at a time when Yoko is away; they exchange small talk and biting insults, smoke some dope and eventually end up noodling around on the piano." [ [ LENNON-MCCARTNEY TELEPIC ROCK SOLID] ]

:Act II: " [McCartney and Lennon] don disguises, walk through Central Park and confront a few of their fans at a quiet little restaurant." [ [ LENNON-MCCARTNEY TELEPIC ROCK SOLID] ]

:Act III: "As the evening wears down, they watch "Saturday Night Live" together and, by chance, witness producer Lorne Michaels offering the Beatles a laughably low sum - $3,000 - to reunite on his show. Impulsively, they toy with the idea of speeding to Rockefeller Center to perform a few songs that very night." [ [ LENNON-MCCARTNEY TELEPIC ROCK SOLID] ]

Nanciann Cherry argues that, " [Harris and Quinn] are superb, capturing accents, mannerisms, and behavior of their two famous characters. More than a fine job of imitation, Harris and Quinn get beyond the trappings of fame and show us two men, former best friends, who have gone separate ways and no longer know how to recapture that friendship." ["Two of Us is a Grand Fantasy: VH1 Film Explores The Realm of What Have Been." "The Blade (newspaper)"]

Critic Ed Bumgardner also notes that:

:This conjured-up day-in-the-life meeting between Sir Paul and Saint John, a pretentious project ripe for disaster, is actually a thoughtful, well-developed character study that shouldn't embarrass either actor or the two men they so beautifully portray [...] Lindsay-Hogg's sharp eye for detail lends credence to the storyline. The period clothes and haircuts ring true, as do the dead-on scouse accents sported by Quinn and Harris as McCartney and Lennon. ["Imagine: Lennon, McCartney Are Subjects of a What If Film." "Winston-Salem Journal"]


Jim DeRogatis interviewed director Michael Lindsay-Hogg about his involvement with the film. Lindsay-Hogg stated that he became involved with the project because the screenplay,

:wasn't so much about The Beatles. It was a very good script in which the agency of these two famous people and their story takes you somewhere deeper. To me, that's the nature of friendship: How we grow, how we grow up, and how things change. These boys knew each other when they were 16 and now they're 35 and they have to find a new truth. We all have our own relationships like that, whether they're matrimonial relationships or friendships. [ [ Director couldn't just let this story be] ]

Of the screenplay he further stated, "Mark Stanfield is a good writer and a Beatles fan who has a lot of knowledge [...] Some of that stuff was ad-libbed by the actors because they really got into this, but Mark also wrote characters instead of stereotypes or caricatures." [ [ Director couldn't just let this story be] ]

In another interview, Stanfield discussed the decision to create a fictionalized account of actual people: "I didn't give it a lot of thought. Certainly it's been done before, from Shakespeare through something like "Melvin and Howard". And, more recently, in films like "Gods and Monsters". "Shakespeare in Love", for that matter." [ [ An interview with Mark Stanfield] ]

The film's Technical Advisor (and Beatles historian), Martin Lewis, conducted extensive research, drawing upon both his, as well as Michael Lindsay-Hogg's personal knowledge of The Beatles:

:I spent a lot of time working on the project. I dug up hours of film, video, TV and radio material of John and Paul - so that Aidan and Jared could immerse themselves in the characters they were portraying. Much of the material was rare. What I especially wanted to give them were tapes of John and Paul talking when they were not "on" - but being themselves - as they obviously would be when the two of them were together without others around. We also spent hours discussing their characters and the dynamic of their relationship [...] Aidan and Jared were incredibly hard-working. They took their work very seriously. Neither of them planned to be IMPERSONATING their characters. They wanted to capture the ESSENCE of them more than anything. [ [ Et Tu Beatlus?] ]

Paul McCartney

To further prepare for the role of Paul McCartney, Aidan Quinn traveled to Liverpool with actor Ian Hart (who portrayed John Lennon in the 1994 film, "Backbeat"). While there, he visited a number of places including McCartney's childhood home. [ [ Aidan Quinn Tours Liverpool] ] Jackie Spencer at was tour guide in Liverpool that day, and was impressed by Aidan's commitment to the role.

Quinn discussed McCartney's reaction to the film in an April 18 2004 interview: "Just after I finished the film, I went on holiday and Paul McCartney was staying at the same place. I met him and we became quite friendly. Later, he saw the film and fortunately he liked it. It would have been terrible if he'd hated it." [ [ STAR MAN: 10 things you never knew about ... Aidan Quinn] ]


The original soundtrack by David Schwartz does not include any songs by The Beatles because "the producers could not get clearance from the notoriously difficult copyright holders, a company owned by Michael Jackson." [ [ Film presents a double Beatles fantasy] ] Critic Jim DeRogatis notes that, "the movie was over before it struck me that the soundtrack was devoid of any Beatles songs [...] Such is our saturation in all things Beatles-related that their actual music isn't even missed in the movie. And maybe that should tell us something about getting back to what really matters in this group's legacy." [ [ Film presents a double Beatles fantasy] ]

Critic Kevin Thompson further argues::Lauren Zalaznick, VH1's senior vice president of original programming and development, notes, 'This movie is all about two souls, arguably the most famous musicians of our time. It's not an excuse for a Beatles hit parade.' Well, VH1 tried to get the rights to some Beatles songs, but wasn't successful. The songs weren't necessary, however. On the surface, Two of Us is about a long overdue meeting between two music industry icons. Look deeper and the film is really about friendship and loss. [" [ Two of Us: A Poignant Tale of Two Beatles" "The Palm Beach Post"] ]


*Bark, Ed. "Come Together: VH1 movie asks "what if' Lennon, McCartney had reconnected?" "The Dallas Morning News". 31 January 2000.
*Bianculli, David. " [ Lennon-McCartney Telepic Rock Solid] ." "New York Daily News." 01 February 2000.
*Bumgardner, Ed. "Imagine: Lennon, McCartney Are Subjects of a What If Film." "Winston-Salem Journal". 31 January 2000.
*Cherry, Nanciann. "Two of Us is a Grand Fantasy: VH1 Film Explores The Realm of What Have Been." "The Blade (newspaper)". 31 January 2000.
*DeRogatis, Jim. " [ Director couldn't just let this story be] ." "Chicago Sun-Times", 30 January 2000.
*---. " [ Film presents a double Beatles fantasy] ." "Chicago Sun-Times", 30 January 2000.
*Leonard, John. " [ Past Perfect] ." "New York Magazine", 07 February 2000 (issue).
*Lewis, Martin. " [ Et Tu Beatlus?] " January 2000.
*---." [ An interview with Mark Stanfield:The author of the script of "Two of Us" talks to Martin Lewis] ."
*---." [ Two Hundred of Us: A special report from the N.Y. premiere of "Two of Us"] ." 01 February 2000.
*McDaniel, Mike. "Beatles biopic asks, `What if?'" "Houston Chronicle". 31 January 2000.
*McDonough, Kevin. " [ McCartney, Lennon meet again in VH1 movie "Two of Us"] ." "United Feature Syndicate", 01 February 2000.
*---."A Day in the Life (That Might Have Been)" "Newsday". 31 January 2000.
*Michaels, Lorne. " [ SNL Transcripts: Beatles Offer] ." "Saturday Night Live", 24 April 1976.
*Moore, Frazier. " [ A sentimental Beatles journey with John and Paul in VH1's "Two of Us"] ." "Associated Press", 31 January 2000.
*Ostrow, Joanne. " [ Beatles 'reunion' riveting] ." "Denver Post", 27 January 2000.
*Sisario, Ben. " [ SPOTLIGHT; A "Beatles" Film Fantasy, in Counterpoint] ." "New York Times", 30 January 2000.
*Spencer, Jackie & Jean Catharell. " [ Aidan Quinn tours Liverpool: An account of how the actor (who plays Paul) was shown the "Beatles"' hometown] ."
*Thompson, Kevin. " [ Two of Us: A Poignant Tale of Two Beatles"] . "The Palm Beach Post". 31 January 2000.
*VH1. " [ "The Beatles": And in the End...] ." 01 February 2000


External links

* [ VH1 Official Site]
* [ The Making of "Two of Us"]

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