Modern Beatles chronicler Peter Jackson partners with Sean Ono Lennon and Pixar’s Dave Mullins for War is Over music video from WETA Digital.
So, this is Christmas, and Peter Jackson recently helmed the music video for the new Beatles song Now and Then, which controversially used AI to finish John Lennon’s vocals on the previously unfinished song. Jackson would also previously release the mini-series documentary on The Beatles titled Get Back for Disney+. Now the Lord of the Rings director is collaborating with John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son, Sean for a new animated short that is inspired by the beloved Christmas tune by Lennon, Happy Xmas (War is Over).
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Sean Ono Lennon was looking for a way to make a music video for one of his parents’ songs. Ono Lennon met with Pixar animator Dave Mullins, and the two sparked the idea for an animated short about “a chess game played across enemy lines with the help of a heroic carrier pigeon.” Mullins wrote and directed the animated short with the help of Peter Jackson and his WETA digital effects company. The short, titled War is Over, is making a quiet Oscar-qualifying run and is currently seeking a distributor.
Jackson speaks on his relationship with the project, “Sean and I are friends and he was initially wanting some advice about his script. I first heard from Sean a few weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, and it was clearly an important project for him. I remember telling him that an animated short film would take 12 to 14 months to make, and there was a very good chance the war in Ukraine will have resolved by the time it was finished. Here we are, and not only is the misery in Ukraine continuing with no end in sight, there’s now the war in Gaza.”
Ono Lennon’s impression of his famous parents’ song is bittersweet with the current unraveling of world events. “For me, it’s very sad that my parents’ message of peace and love is still relevant to this day. It seems like such an old story. Some people are very sensitive about this message of peace today. They feel like it’s a denial of peoples’ pain. And I am not criticizing anyone. I’m saying I really believe in resolving problems peacefully as a concept, even though it sounds very naive. It’s something I was raised to believe and I still believe it.”