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Is Robert Zemeckis' 'Yellow Submarine' Sunk? Actor David Tennant Says Project Has 'Gone Away'

by Oliver Lyttelton
October 20, 2010 1:16 AM
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We're on record as being fans of Scottish actor David Tennant -- so much so that he got a brief mention in our piece on actors on the rise last week. He's best known for being the star of the BBC's "Doctor Who" (in which he was mostly terrific), but his other TV performances in "Blackpool" and "Casanova" were equally charismatic, and whenever we've caught him on stage, in the likes of the title role in "Hamlet," Martin McDonagh's "The Pillowman' or Kenneth Lonergan's "Lobby Hero," he's given truly outstanding performances.

While his big-screen roles to date have mostly been limited to a villainous turn in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the actor's set to break out next year with the lead in British rom-com "The Decoy Bride" and a colorful supporting performance as a Criss Angel-style magician in horror remake "Fright Night," while whispers this weekend linked him to an unknown role in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit." One project that it seems the actor won't be appearing in, however, is Robert Zemeckis' "Yellow Submarine." And indeed, the project may not be happening at all.

Bleeding Cool unearthed an interview with Tennant from a few weeks back on the UK's "The Paul O'Grady Show," in which host O'Grady (a popular Liverpudlian comedian) reveals that both he and Tennant were up for a role in Zemeckis' motion-capture remake of the animated Beatles film. Tennant describes the role as "Queen of the Blue Meanies" and "a six foot tall blue creature," suggesting that it would have been a villainous part, presumably the leader of the music hating creatures that go up against the Fab Four (who were set to be played by Dean Lennox Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz, Cary Elwes and Adam Campbell).

But so what, right? Stop the presses, Actor Auditions For Role! Except the real news here is that Tennant suggests that the project is now dead, saying "I don't think it's happening now. I think the film has gone away." Only last week (about the same time as Tennant gave his interview), Elwes told MTV that the film was set to begin production in April, so we're getting somewhat mixed messages here.

It's unclear whether Tennant even landed the role in question: it's possible that in saying "I don't think it's happening now," he's referring to his participation in the project -- after all, if he is involved in "The Hobbit," there would seem to be something of a scheduling clash. Or it's possible that Elwes was putting a brave face on things -- after all, Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital studio was closed by Disney in March, and the director's been thought to be eying a return to live action of late. If we had to guess, we'd say that the project was still alive (unfortunately...), but it'll become clear in the coming months either way.

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