A documentary on the life of George Harrison directed by Martin Scorsese is nearly done and is expected to premiere this year, Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison, said this week.
“I assume we’re going to announce it sometime soon, the actual (premiere) date, but it will be this year,” she said Thursday in Las Vegas, where she had attended the fifth-anniversary performance of the Beatles-Cirque du Soleil show “Love” along with their son, Dhani, and Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Sean Ono Lennon and longtime Beatles producer George Martin and his son Giles, who co-produced the “Love” soundtrack.
“I just came from New York and Monday I’m going to see it again,” she said of the film about her husband, who died in 2001 of cancer at 58. “We’re real excited about it. Marty is such a great storyteller, and of course he always finds the story that you don’t expect.”
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World,” after the ex-Beatle’s 1973 song and solo album of the same title, will be the latest in a string of music documentaries the “Taxi Driver” director has handled. In 1976 he captured “The Last Waltz,” the star-studded farewell performance by the Band, turned his attention on Bob Dylan for 2005’s “No Direction Home” and honed in on the Rolling Stones in 2008 with “Shine a Light.” He also directed the music video for Michael Jackson’s 1987 hit “Bad.”
“He likes it loud,” Harrison said with a smile, “He’s always saying, ‘It’s rock ‘n’ roll!’”
It’s unknown to the outside world yet to what extent the film will touch Harrison, one of rock’s most respected guitarists, and his fascination with the ukulele. But Olivia Harrison said she has some footage she wants to share with at least one other person.
“I have a little clip of George — we put the camera on him playing his uke and I have to send that to Eddie (Vedder),” she said in reference to the Pearl Jam front man and his just-released solo album, “Ukulele Songs.” “I think it’s fascinating that Eddie’s done that. .... We have a collection of favorite uke songs, and George’s favorite uke performances of things like and ‘Clair de Lune’ and ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’”
Not surprisingly, she’s also a big fan of Hawaiian uke player Jake Shimabakuro’s version of Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which became a viral phenomenon on YouTube several years ago.
“He’s a sweetheart,” she said. “Have you ever met him? He’s like a little bird. Terribly sweet. And a fantastic musician.”