Ed Sheeran has said that he was “third choice” for the role in Richard Curtis’ Yesterday.
The musical played a version of himself in the 2019 film but has now revealed that both Harry Styles and Chris Martin were initially chosen ahead of him.
Speaking on BBC Radio 1’s ‘Kids Ask Difficult Questions’ segment, Sheeran said: “They asked Chris Martin, he said no, they asked Harry Styles, he said no, and I was third choice.”
He continued: “Yesterday was funny though because Richard Curtis wrote it and he lives in Suffolk and he knows me and my wife very well. And If you look at that movie, the premise is a bloke who gets really, really, really famous round the world, and it’s a bit unbelievable that he got really, really famous round the world…[he] comes from Suffolk… so there are all these factors in it where I was like, has he sort of written this about me?
“And I didn’t wanna ask, I didn’t wanna even think that. And then I got invited round Richard’s house with my wife…Richard’s talking to me about the film and he’s like, ‘We’re thinking of getting Chris Martin as the musical guy in the film,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay but… Suffolk, music…’
“Anyway, they asked Chris Martin, he said no, they asked Harry Styles, he said no and I was third choice. That is 100% true.”
Previously, director Danny Boyle had said that Sheeran was second choice for the film, having never approached Styles.
“He teased us rotten because he found out we’d asked Chris Martin first, so he never let us forget that,” Boyle told NME in 2019. “And he accused us of asking Harry Styles second, which isn’t true, but we did ask Chris Martin first, so he teases us rotten about that but he gives as good as he gets.”
Boyle said that Sheeran had a good sense of humour on set, despite being teased heavily in the script. “He’s got a good sense of humour which he needed to have otherwise it could have been quite unpleasant.” Himesh Patel added that Sheeran was “fun” and “great to work with.” You can watch the full interview here.
The film, written by Curtis and directed by Boyle, imagines a world in which everyone has forgotten the songs of The Beatles apart from one person, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), who pretends the songs are his.
In the film, Ed Sheeran plays himself and invites Malik to appear as his support act after hearing him sing ‘In My Life’ on the television.
Meanwhile, Sheeran is appearing at this year’s BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend event, after pre-filming a set ready for inclusion.
This year’s Big Weekend festival will take place online for the second consecutive yeardue to coronavirus-enforced restrictions, and will run on BBC Radio 1, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds from May 28-31.
Other artists set to perform include Wolf Alice, Royal Blood, AJ Tracey, Celeste, Anne-Marie, Mabel and London Grammar.