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Man on the Run to Document Paul McCartney’s Post-Beatle Life

(c) Paul McCartney/ Photographer: Linda McCartney. Universal Music Group.

The life of Paul McCartney in the years following the breakup of the Beatles will be charted in a new documentary titled Man on the Run and directed by Morgan Neville. The project was announced Saturday in a press release by MPL Communications and Polygram Entertainment, the film and television division of Universal Music Group.

Following the difficulties of the Get Back project that was documented in Peter Jackson’s recent eight-hour Disney+ documentary series of the same name, McCartney and The Beatles returned to the studio for a triumphant finale with Abbey Road. However, business conflicts, interpersonal disagreements, new musical directions, and external influences led to the group’s final dissolution in 1970—a breakup for which McCartney was largely blamed, and in the court of public opinion, vilified. He retreated to his Scotland farm with new wife Linda McCartney, where their love together reignited his passion for music and they later formed the band Wings.

While Wings would eventually go on to great commercial success, McCartney’s first post-Beatle solo projects met with critical disdain, and the bassist-singer-composer would fall into a period of depression and isolation chronicled in multiple books, including Tom Doyle’s Man on the Run (2014) and Allan Kozinn and Adrian Sinclair’s The McCartey Legacy Vol. I, 1969-1973 (2022). Both books chart the difficulties McCartney faced in the wake of The Beatles’ breakup, ones that took an emotional toll on the man who had been one of the world’s most accomplished, recognized, and celebrated personalities.

According to the press release, the film will draw on unprecedented access to a never-before-seen archive of Paul and Linda’s home videos and photos, as well as new interviews. Man on the Run will begin with the aftermath of The Beatles dissolution as he faces new challenges before creating new music with his wife Linda and eventually forming Wings.

The press release promises that the documentary will chronicle “the arc of Paul’s peerless solo career: From the one-man-band lo-fi recording prototype of his self-titled solo debut, to the pastoral bliss of RAM, to the formation of Wings and its classic albums including Band On The Run, Venus And Mars, At The Speed Of Sound, Wings Over America, London Town and more. The result is an intimate and personal behind the scenes account of how Paul progressed from The Beatles’ 1966 retirement from live concerts to the Wings tours that would set the standard for 1970s arena rock shows.”

Among the hits from this era of McCartney’s career are “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Another Day,” “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” “Hi, Hi, Hi,” “My Love,” “Live And Let Die,” “Band On The Run,” “Jet,” “Junior’s Farm,” “Listen To What The Man Said,” “Silly Love Songs,” “Let ‘Em In,” “Mull Of Kintyre,” “With A Little Luck,” “Goodnight Tonight” and more.

The press release quotes producer Michele Anthony: “At its heart, this is a story of Linda and Paul’s enduring love and an artist finding his own voice after being in the most historic music group ever. Our film traces one of the most incredibly creative periods of Paul’s life which spawned a vital and legendary body of work that continues to impact people and culture in every corner of the globe. We are honored to present this story with unprecedented access to a treasure trove of material from Paul and Linda’s personal archive.”

Man on the Run is to be produced by Anthony, David Blackman, Neville, Caitrin Rogers and Scott Rodger and Ben Chappell from MPL. Man on the Run is fully financed by MPL & Polygram Entertainment and presented and produced by MPL, Polygram Entertainment, and Tremolo Productions.

About Morgan Neville

Morgan Neville is an Academy Award, Grammy Award, and Emmy Award-winning director and producer known for his work as a cultural documentarian. His acclaimed film Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about Fred Rogers, was released by Focus Features in 2018 and has become one of the best-reviewed and highest-grossing documentaries of all time. His 2013 film 20 Feet From Stardom won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Music Film. His most recent film, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, premiered theatrically in 2021, and was the highest grossing documentary of the year. Other films include the Emmy-winning Best of Enemies, about the debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, about the production of Orson Welles’ final film, Keith Richards: Under the Influence, about the rock legend, and the global music film The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. For TV, Neville has directed Shangri-la about music producer Rick Rubin, Watch The Sound with Mark Ronson, Abstract: The Art of DesignSong ExploderUgly Delicious, and The Next Thing You Eat. Neville and Tremolo Productions have also produced several other films and series including Worn Stories, The Painter and The Thief, Beauty is Embarrassing, Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, and Crossfire Hurricane.

“As a lifelong obsessive of all things McCartney, I’ve always felt that the 1970s were the great under-examined part of his story. I’m thrilled to have the chance to explore and reappraise this crucial moment in a great artist’s life and work,” says Neville about the upcoming Man on the Run.

About MPL

MPL Communications is the umbrella company for the business interests of Paul McCartney  and was established in 1969. In addition to handling McCartney’s post-Beatles work, MPL is one of the world’s largest privately owned music publishers through its acquisition of other publishing companies. MPL is headquartered in London and New York. MPL publishing owns a wide range of copyrighted material—covering nearly 100 years of music—by composers including McCartney, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Jerry Herman, Frank Loesser, Meredith Willson, Harold Arlen and many others. Lennon-McCartney songs such as “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” became part of the catalog in the late 2010s after McCartney reached a settlement with longtime Beatles catalog holder Sony/ATV Publishing, allowing the co-author to reclaim his songs fifty-six years from their initial publication.

About Polygram Entertainment

Polygram Entertainment creates music-driven projects for film and television that excite, inspire and engage fans of all ages around the world. A partner of Universal Music Group, the world leader in music-based entertainment, Polygram produces content that explores the stories behind the biggest recording artists and music of all time and the cultural and social events their music helped define. Polygram works across all music genres to develop, produce, finance and sell documentary, original scripted and unscripted television and feature films. Recent award-winning projects include Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues from director Sacha Jenkins; Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground; Frank Marshall’s The Bee Gees:  How Can You Mend a Broken HeartBeastie Boys Story from director Spike Jonze; Alison Ellwood’s The Go-Go’sPavarotti from director Ron Howard; Roger Ross Williams’ The Apollo; the Emmy Award-winning series “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” and the subsequent telefilm “Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas.” Upcoming projects include Donna, a feature documentary about Donna Summer directed by Roger Ross Williams and Brooklyn Sudano; the docuseries James Brown: Say It Loud; scripted features about KISS and The Osbournes; a docuseries about the legendary Memphis-based record label STAX; and a new series based on the life of Frank Sinatra.

About Tremolo Productions

Tremolo Productions is an Academy Award, Grammy Award and Emmy Award-winning production company concentrating on quality non-fiction storytelling. Films and television include Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, Ugly Delicious, 20 ft from Stardom, Best of Enemies, Abstract: The Art of Design, Keith Richards: Under the Influence, Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson, and Song Exploder.

Written by J Paul Johnson

J Paul Johnson is Publisher of Film Obsessive. A professor emeritus of film studies and an avid cinephile, collector, and curator, his interests range from classical Hollywood melodrama and genre films to world and independent cinemas and documentary.

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