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Disney’s looking for Beatles sound-alikes to come climb aboard its “Yellow Submarine” remake

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Disney’s looking for Beatles sound-alikes to come climb aboard its “Yellow Submarine” remake

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If you keep an eye on DisneyAuditions.com, you’ll see that Casting is constantly looking for people to play the Characters. New hirers who’d be willing to climb inside one of those often hot walk-around suits and then go out & entertain Guests on a Disney cruise ship and/or in one of the theme parks.

But this coming weekend, the Mouse is taking a break from recruiting for the Fab Five (i.e. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy & Pluto) and -- instead -- is concentrating on finding performers who'd be interested in portraying the Fab Four.

As in John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Beatles Yellow submarine\
Copyright Apple Corps 2009. All Rights Reserved

Yep – this Saturday and Sunday – as Beatles fans from all over the globe descend on Stamford, CT for BEATexpo 2009Victoria Burrows & Scot Boland will be setting up shop in the Shippan Point Room at the Downtown Holiday Inn. And from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on November 28th and from 12 noon to 8 p.m. on November 29th, these casting agents will be meeting with aspiring singers, actors & musicians who’d be interested in appearing in what (for this set of auditions, anyway) is being called the fab four feature film.

Okay. I know. You just hammered on the above link. Which then took you to the official webpage for this opening casting call. And while there is lots of information there about Saturday & Sunday’s auditions, The Walt Disney Company is only mentioned in passing. As in:

(This) film will be shot as a MOTION-CAPTURE feature like the current Disney release of A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Jim Carrey.

Beatles yellow submarine
Copyright 2009 ImageMovers Digital. All Right Reserved

“So how I do know that this strange set of auditions in Stamford, CT has any real ties to The Walt Disney Company?,” you ask. Okay. Let me connect the dots for you.

Disney's Dick Cook revealing that the rumored "Yellow Submarine" remake is a go
At the Walt Disney Pictures presentation at the D23 Expo, Dick Cook revealed
that Disney's rumored "Yellow Submarine" remake is a go. Photo by Eric
Charbonneau. Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

  • And given that the official website for this fab four feature film says that performers who audition for this project will have the opportunity to show Victoria & Scot that they …

“ … can embody the characters of John, Paul, George or Ringo.”

… It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to figure out that what’s going on next Saturday & Sunday in Stamford is the first round of auditions for Disney’s new performance capture version of “Yellow Submarine.” Even though – as you look over that open casting call webpage – you’ll find absolutely no mention of ImageMovers Digital’s upcoming Disney Digital 3D remake of that 1968 hand-drawn animated feature.

Copyright Apple Corps 2009. All Rights Reserved

Performers who are seriously looking to be considered for the fab four feature film are being asked by Burrows/Boland to head on over to the Showfax website. Where they can then download the sides for the specific Beatles that they'd like to portray.

And when Burrows/Boland say specific, they mean specific. These auditions are only open to male performers 20 – 45 years of age. What’s more, Victoria & Scot suggest that – if you want to be seriously considered for these parts (Which – as the open casting call website says – “ … are LEAD ROLES IN OUR FEATURE FILM”) – you should not only be able to replicate John, Paul, George and Ringo's unique vocal quality from 1967 & 1970 but also be able to duplicate the Beatles’ distinct body language & gestures.

Mind you, to help out with the latter aspect of this audition, Burrows/ Boland have provided plenty of video reference footage from interviews that these Liverpudlians did back in the 1960s. Not to mention brief clips from that great black-and-white Richard Lester film, “A Hard Day's Night.”

Beatles Yellow Submarine
Copyright Apple Corps. All Rights Reserved

Of course, given that Burrows / Boland will be holding these auditions at BEATexpo 2009, what Victoria & Scot are hoping that 99.999% of the performers that they’ll be seeing on Saturday & Sunday won’t need to look at any video reference footage. Given that Stamford will be crawling with Beatles tribute bands this coming week … Well, Burrows / Boland hopes to cherry-pick the very best faux Johns, Pauls, Georges and Ringos out of all of these groups to then consider for casting in “Yellow Submarine.”

Now what kind of confuses me about these fab four feature film auditions is the heavy emphasis that Victoria & Scot have placed on “ … We are looking for the vocal quality that (The Beatles) had from 1967 – 1970.” Which would suggest that the people who will be auditioning for this ImageMovers Digital production will (if they do get cast, that is) be expected to sing at some point in the finished film.

But if that’s really the case … Then why Disney & ImageMovers Digital spend months negotiating with Sony / ATV Music Publishing LLC and EMI-Capitol Records for the right to incorporate 16 Beatles songs & recordings from the original “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack into the new Disney Digital 3D version of this film?

Beatles Yellow Submarine
Copyright Apple Corps. All Rights Reserved

More to the point, given that – just over two weeks ago – Robert Zemeckis (while he was out doing publicity for “Disney’s A Christmas Carol”) was quoted as saying that he hoped to persuade the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, to come play themselves in this performance capture picture … One has to wonder what’s really going on here. Is what Burrows / Boland will be doing in Stamford, CT this coming weekend a legitimate open call or some big publicity stunt to help hype Disney’s “Yellow Submarine” remake? Or are John Lennon & George Harrison lookalikes / sound-alikes primarily what Victoria & Scot are now looking for?

Whatever the case is here … You have to admit that there’s probably no better way to get the Beatles fan community excited about this Disney Digital 3D remake of “Yellow Submarine” than by holding auditions for this project at BEATexpo 2009. Imagine how many members of Beatles tribute bands will spend the next few days hoping & praying that they’ll soon plunked from obscurity to then become a part of this big budget performance capture project?

So for those of you who ever dreamed of becoming part of the Fab Four (as opposed to Disney’s Fab Five) I say (borrowing a phrase -- sort of -- from “Drive My Car” on the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” album) yes, you’re gonna be a star. Provided – of course – that you can do a halfway decent Liverpudlian accent.

Beatles Yellow submarine
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

And for those who are seriously thinking about heading down to Stamford next Saturday & Sunday to try out for Burrows / Boland … Now cribbing from John Lennon’s ad-lib at the end of “Get Back” from “Let It Be” : “I’d like to say good luck on behalf of the group and myself, and I hope that you all pass the audition.”

Your thoughts?

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  • Why are they not casting this in the UK?  They'd get a much more authentic turn out.

    If not, they're going to end with a dodgy bunch of Americans trying to be Beatles (aka. The British Invasion)

  • I got an email about these auditions from some Liverpool tour group that I hear from occasionally.  I could imagine that the "vocal quality" they're looking for may be speaking, and not singing, since it does seem like they're planning on using the original recordings (much like the original, where the spoken voices were actually quite different from the way the Beatles actually spoke but the original recordings of the songs were used).  I hate the motion capture, so I'm still a little upset about the idea of the remake, but we'll have to see.

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