“John was essentially brought up middle class. It was Paul who lived in that world of gritty working-class housing estates”
“Oh massively. It completely altered my make up and who I felt I was,” she agrees. “I really changed radically how I lived my life. I stopped going to every party and stopped saying ‘yes’ to everyone. I lived life to the full, but in the way I wanted, rather than the way people expected me to.”
I don’t imagine having cancer once does all that much to prepare you for a second bout. “No, not at all. However, the first time round I was a bit too keen to show the world I was okay. The second time I stopped caring about that and focused upon myself.”
It’s interesting to hear all this talk about not caring what others think and about not living life “the way people expected me to”. A few months ago, it transpired that TaylorWood, now divorced from Jopling, had become romantically entwined with the star of Nowhere Boy. Aaron Johnson, who brings callow energy to the role of Lennon, is 23 years younger than the artist. No wonder she feels the need to assert her defiance of conventional attitudes. I understand they’re now getting married. “Yes, but we’re not going to rush into it,” she says insouciantly. “We are going to take our time. Anyway, we are too taken up with promoting the film right now. We cross corridors in the hotel, have a hug and carry on again. It’s nice knowing he’s right next door all the time.” Aww! Whatever else you might say about Sam, she’s a lot less scary than Damian Hirst.
Yet, for all those actors pulling on round glasses and standing next to Japanese ladies, the real Lennon has rarely been glimpsed in these performances. So many of the interpretations – unlike the fragile character in – seem to be variations on the character of “John Lennon” that the man himself manufactured for and (Indeed that half-invented character even shows through Lennon’s few performances as somebody other than himself: check out his Musketeer Gripweed in Dick Lester’s zany
The “John Lennon” character in the Beatles films – as glib as the real thing, but a little less pompous – was every bit as fictional as the “ the King inhabited in his increasingly wretched movies. The key difference, of course, is that John himself dreamt up the wry, cynical “Lennon”, whereas managers and manipulators knocked together the bland, soulless “Elvis”. Sadly, both characters survived the stars who inhabited them.