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Danny Boyle Comments on Ed Sheeran in Yesterday Interview
The art of dragging someone is a nuanced skill that takes time and practice and an unspoken finesse. Those components can be curbed when your target is easily roastable, as is the case with Ed Sheeran. But in a recent interview with Variety, Danny Boyle’s response when asked about working with the singer is so subtle that I’m not entirely sure if it’s a compliment or an insult. Let’s investigate.
In a pre-release interview for his new film Yesterday, Variety sat down with Boyle to discuss the Beatles-centric film. Squarely in the middle of the stacked cast is Ed Sheeran, singer of your aunt’s favorite “dirty song” and that one track that everyone uses as their first wedding dance. When asked what it’s like directing Sheeran, Boyle said, “He is like you see it. He’s very straight and ordinary. I don’t know how he does it because I’ve seen him working, and obviously he’s a one-man machine extraordinaire, and yet he retains this simple humanity.” Oh.
Let’s just think out loud, if you will, for a moment. “Straight and ordinary” doesn’t seem like much of a compliment. Neither does “simple humanity.” But the real one-two punch is when Boyle ends his answer by laughing about how good of a sport Sheeran was once he found out that he was the second choice for the role. Boyle first reached out to Chris Martin, Coldplay frontman and former husband of Gwyneth Paltrow, but Martin was unavailable. What a spicy burn. That’s essentially the equivalent of actively seeking out Unfrosted Corn Flakes, not finding it at the store, and then settling on the generic brand.
Perhaps we’re just too hard on Ed because, truly, what has he done other than be on our side from day one? He loves the shape of you! But also if Boyle was attempting to roast Sheeran, then hats off to a job well done. His words are the kind of subtle shade that runs deep and scars forever, and that is something to celebrate.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment.