Danny Collins: The Real Story

Posted on March 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

Writer/director Dan Fogelman (“Cars,” “Tangled,” “Crazy Stupid Love”) saw the headline: musician Steve Tilston received a letter written to him 34 years earlier by John Lennon, including his phone number and an invitation to call. That inspired Fogelman’s new film, “Danny Collins,” with Al Pacino as a very successful but not very happy rock star who, like Tilston, does not find out until decades later that John Lennon wrote him a letter and invited him to call. And in both, the topic of the letter from Lennon was the same: he was reassuring a young musician that he could maintain his integrity even if he became rich and famous.

In the film, the letter inspires the title character to make some enormous changes in his life. In real life, the man the letter was addressed to was successful in his home country of the UK, but never so much of a superstar that his life was out of control.

Here is Tilston singing “The Road When I Was Young”:

And here he is covering a Beatles song, showing the real Lennon letter he did not see until 34 years after it was sent.

A nice Beatles touch — Yoko Ono gave Fogelman permission to use nine Lennon songs in the film.

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The Real Story