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Interview: New John Lennon movie tells story of Beatle's interviews

Jon Lefkovitz is the producer of a new film called “Rubber Soul,” which recreates a pair of interviews done by John Lennon and Yoko Ono with actors saying the original words. The film received its world premiere at this year's SXSW. We asked him about the development of the movie and what viewers can expect. You can see the trailer for the film on this page.

The poster for "Rubber Soul."
Courtesy Jon Lefkovitz

Q: What's the idea behind the film?
Jon Lefkovitz: “Using actors, 'Rubber Soul' is a word-for-word reconstruction of two historical interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The film explores the dynamic nature of Lennon's identity by juxtaposing portions of seminal interviews he gave to Rolling Stone in 1970 and to Playboy in 1980. We wanted to convey Lennon's humanity and complexity as well as his brilliance, using his own words. The idea is to get the audience to think about how we all grow, but don't necessarily change, over time.”

Q: How long did it take to make?
Jon Lefkovitz: “The film took four days to shoot and four years to develop. It began as a traditional biopic, but was reinvented as an experimental docudrama. I combed through the two interviews in order to find interesting places where Lennon either agreed with or appeared to contradict himself. The reason why it only took four days to shoot was because there are only two locations, the blocking is very limited, and most importantly, our incredible lead actor Joseph Bearor and I spent four months rehearsing the interviews until he could practically recite them backwards. Our policy was to remain as faithful to the audio and transcripts of the original interviews as possible, keeping every last stutter, 'um' and 'you know' intact.”

Q: Is there any Beatles music in the film?
Jon Lefkovitz: “There is no Beatles music in “Rubber Soul.” In a way, though, there is music throughout the film in the form of Lennon's melodic and rhythmic voice. Lennon's greatest talent was as a songwriter, but in my opinion his second greatest (and much less discussed) talent was his ability to give mesmerizing interviews. Despite his flaws, the man could talk honestly for long periods of time without ever losing the listener's attention. That's rare, especially in the Twitter age where celebrities tend to be coy and cagey.”

Q: Where will the film be shown?
Jon Lefkovitz: “We just had our world premiere at the 2014 SXSW film festival, which went really well. Hopefully the film will be available more widely in the future. We encourage anyone who's interested to check our website for updates, or follow us through our Facebook and Twitter pages.”

Q: Will it be available on DVD?
Jon Lefkovitz: “I hope so!”


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