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Exclusive: Pattie Boyd on the Beatles and filming 'A Hard Day's Night,' part 1

(Introduction: Pattie Boyd will be appearing this Sunday at the Catalina Island museum in Southern California at a 50th anniversary screening of “A Hard Day's Night.” In the first part of a two-part interview, she talks about getting the role for the movie.)

The Beatles.
The Beatles.
© Norman Parkinson/Sygma/CORBIS - used by permission.
Pattie Boyd
Pattie Boyd - used by permission.

It was the Beatles everyone went to see in “A Hard Day's Night,” but you couldn't miss Pattie Boyd. She was the schoolgirl who said the immortal word “Prisoners?” in the famous scene where Paul McCartney come over to her table. She caught everyone's eye, including George Harrison's, who she later married. But it all started on the set of “A Hard Day's Night,” which Boyd said in a phone interview with Beatles Examiner that she didn't even know she was trying out for.

“I was a fashion model working for magazines,” she said. “And my agent sent me while I was working for, I think, it was David Bailey. And she said that I should go for an interview as long as I had my portfolio of photographs, which I did have. So I went along to somewhere in Soho, London. And there were lots of girls, the usual sort of situation. Everybody was sitting down waiting to be called into a room where they'd ask you various questions about what you'd done before.”

When she went in for the audition, she saw a familiar face. “When it was my turn, I went in and I recognized ('A Hard Day's Night' director) Dick Lester, who I had done TV commercials with. And I just showed them my photographs and went home. And my agent phoned me later that afternoon to say that I'd gotten a job in the Beatles film and I wasn't to tell anyone. And I said, 'How on earth did that happen?' And she said, 'The interview you went for. And I said, 'I thought that was for a TV commercial.' 'No, no, no. You got a part in the Beatles film.”

She says she never had planned for a career in movies. “I never wanted to be an actress,” she said. “I didn't have any ambition in that area. And so I panicked and I said, 'Oh dear. I don't know if I'm going to be very good. I'm not very good at acting.' And they said, 'Don't worry. You just have to dress up as a schoolgirl and say one word. That's it.'

“I said, 'That doesn't sound too difficult.' This is really nice. And I'll meet the Beatles. So that was it, basically.”

Boyd will be the special guest at a 50th anniversary screening of “A Hard Day's Night” July 6 at the Catalina Island Museum in Southern California. She'll answer questions after the screening with the museum's Executive Director Dr. Michael DeMarsche.

“I actually have to admit I've only seen (the movie) once in my life. So I am really looking forward to seeing it again,” she said. Only once? “When it came out,” she said. “I don't know why (she hasn't seen it since).” But she says she's very pleased it's still loved so much. ““I find it absolutely amazing.”

Boyd says she knew a little about the Beatles before the film. “Obviously, I'd heard the Beatles and I knew that their music was really good. And I knew the Stones and I knew all the other musicians. But, of course, when I knew I was going to be in the Beatles film, I listened to their albums and listened to their music and did a bit of homework.”

(End of part 1. In part 2, Pattie Boyd talks about how the spark between her and George Harrison was ignited, the filming of the movie and looks back on their life together.)

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