Martin Scorsese’s documentary on the “Quiet Beatle,” Living in the Material World: George Harrison, will not only feature never-before-seen images of the late rock great and new interviews with his Fab Four bandmates Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, but the film might include some unearthed music by Harrison. “Ultimately, we’re trying to have the development of his own music tell the story, if we can,” Scorsese told the Hollywood Reporter in Cannes, where he and Harrison’s widow Olivia are seeking a distributor for the upcoming film. “And the images that he shot, that [Olivia Harrison] shot, a lot of this is telling the story. There are some famous bits and some very interesting new material.”
“His music is very important to me,” Scorsese said. “So I was interested in the journey that he took as an artist. The film is an exploration.” At one point during the “exploration” process, Olivia Harrison was rummaging through old cassettes for the documentary and uncovered one tape from 1966 with music she’d never heard before. “This is a deeply personal journey for me, it’s been excruciating,” she told THR. “I’ve been archiving for five years — 35 years, really. Throwing cassettes and letters in drawers, little things and pieces of paper that you find that say, ‘Goats on my roof.’ You think, What does that mean?”
With a resume that includes Taxi Driver and Goodfellas, plus rock docs like The Last Waltz and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, Scorsese was more than up to the task of making a George Harrison documentary, a fact that Olivia Harrison couldn’t overlook. In fact, Scorsese also knew George Harrison personally. “Marty had a connection with George, and they spent time together. And he’s passionate about film and music as George was passionate about music and film,” she said.
As Rolling Stone previously reported, Living in the Material World is currently in post-production with a 2011 release date penciled in. Scorsese revealed that a final cut of the second part of the three-act documentary is nearly complete.