Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr & Ron Howard Preview 'Madness' in New Beatles Doc, 'Eight Days a Week'

Fiona Adams/Redferns
The Beatles posed for a group shot used on the Twist & Shout EP cover in 1963.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr said that even though they haven't seen the final cut of the new Beatles documentary, "Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years,” they're very pleased with it.

The two living members of the Fab Four joined the film's director, Ron Howard, on Wednesday in a Facebook chat from London.

“We're looking forward to it tomorrow,” McCartney said the day before Thursday's world premiere in London. “We've seen bits and pieces, so we knew there's new footage that fans sent in, so that's very exciting.” 

Starr chimed in: “And remixed sound.”

“And that's incredible," McCartney added. “Because in the cinema, we're going to be able to hear ourselves. We couldn't hear ourselves when we were live. So much screaming going on.”

“Although," Howard joked, "There might be a lot of screaming in the theater.”

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Howard outlined his concept for the film: “It's a perspective on this journey. It also focuses on the touring years, which makes it kind of an adventure story. And, last, it has new footage that hasn't been seen before. It has better-mixed digital sound and so forth. Makes the concert experience really exciting for audiences, more so than it's ever been able to be before.”

McCartney said Howard was a natural choice as the film's director. “Ron was going to do it because we loved his work as a Hollywood director. And we liked him as Richie in 'Happy Days' as well.” 

“He'll never live it down,” Starr joked.

Howard found a similarity in the huge success of his former “Happy Days” series and Beatlemania. “I was in 'Happy Days,' and it was the No. 1 show around the world. And there was the moments, especially with Henry Winkler as the Fonz, Fonziemania -- we would go and do these public appearances and there'd be 10,000-15,000 people. And you'd jump in the car, and it'd be shaking. One time, they tried to grab my hat, they pulled it away. Even when I had hair, I didn't like it if they took the hat.

“And we would get in the limo and try to get through the crowd and say, 'Wow, this is sort of like Beatlemania.' That probably happened three times. It probably happened 3,000 times for these guys. You can't really compare anything to what they were going through. This is what I discovered working on this film.”

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As Starr describes: “There was a whole lot of madness. One of those beautiful memories I have was when we finally made a record and we'd all be in the same car. And we'd know when the record was going to come on the radio, so at 17 minutes past 11, say, they were going to play the record and we'd pull the car over. 'Wow, we're on record.' It was so great. That's one of the huge memories for me.”

McCartney also talked about his special memories of the Beatles career. “I think Shea Stadium was big. That was the thing, you know. Suddenly, we'd been playing big places. Suddenly, this was huge! And so that was really big,” he said. “And 'The Ed Sullivan Show,' when I was about to go on. I had to sing 'Yesterday' on it solo. And suddenly, this song I'd done I've got to go on and do it alone with the Ed Sullivan String Quartet. I don't know how I did it.”

Where did the title of the song "Eight Days a Week" come from? “I was driving out to John's house,” McCartney said, “and I'd been banned from driving because I'd had a speeding offense. So I had to have a driver take me out to John's house. So I'm just saying to the driver, 'How you doing?' 'Great.' 'You been working hard?' He says, 'Oooh, eight days a week.' So I go into John's house saying, 'Got the title. Here we go. And we wrote it.'”

Howard said he hopes the film will appeal to everyone. “I hope that for people who love the Beatles, it's a great journey back. And I hope for other people, there's some insights, something new to come to understand."