Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic scene

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Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic scene

Mary McCartney might be the daughter of music legend Sir Paul McCartney and the late culinary entrepreneur Linda McCartney, but she’s also a hugely successful businesswoman in her own right.

The 53-year-old is a portrait and fashion photographer, and has written a cookbook and hosted a cookery show.

Now Mary has ventured into documentary filmmaking and her debut, If These Walls Could Sing, has already blown away film critics and the music world. It celebrates 90 years of the world-famous London recording studio Abbey Road, where Mary spent a lot of time growing up, watching her parents recording tracks with Wings, the band Paul formed after The Beatles parted ways in 1970.

"I was wondering if it was almost a bit too close to home," Mary tells us as we sit down to chat to her about the film. "But I’m a huge documentary watcher. I love them and I think the ones that are successful are the ones where it’s something close to the director's heart. So this definitely fits the bill."

Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic scene rriqudirriezinvPaul often took Mary to Abbey Road during her childhood (Dave Benett/WireImage)
Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic sceneShe was initially worried her documentary was 'a bit too close to home' (Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty I)

Mary spent years playing in the iconic studio’s corridors with her siblings Heather, 59, Stella, 51, and James, 45, and she says her standout memory of that time is her parents relaxing when they took some time out from recording.

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She recalls "seeing Mum and Dad having a lunch break and they’d get us kids along to say hi", adding, "It's always a little emotional walking in there and reminiscing about past times."

During the feature-length documentary, a black-and-white image of Linda walking her pony, Jet, across the famous zebra crossing outside the building, with Paul also in the shot, is shared with viewers. In the preview Mary reveals that photo was the driving force behind her wanting to do the documentary.

Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic scenePaul and wife Linda recorded tracks with their band Wings at Abbey Road (Getty Images)

She tells us it was a reminder of how pioneering her mum Linda was as an animal rights activist and the creator of a vegetarian food company with Paul before her death to breast cancer in 1998, aged 56.

"The picture of my mum leading the pony across the zebra crossing was something I really wanted to put into the documentary. Obviously she’s not here any more but those things are a reminder of how individual and passionate she was for animals. She was a rule breaker in the right way."

Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic sceneMary taking photos at Abbey Road (Mary McCartney/Tim Cragg)

Mary adds, "A lot of the people still working there worked with my parents and they pulled me aside and said, 'We really remember your mum and how inclusive she was and how great she was.' That definitely brought a tear or two to my eye on several occasions. When people were nice and went, 'Oh God, we really liked her, she’d come into the canteen and have a cup of tea with us and have a chat,' I kind of loved it but also it made me sad."

Mary’s documentary features interviews with those at the heart of Abbey Road’s long history, including her dad Paul, 80, fellow Beatles star Ringo Starr, Sir Elton John, Chic’s Nile Rodgers, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, plus Noel and Liam Gallagher.

Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic sceneIn the film, Mary takes a look at Abbey Road's long history (PA)
Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic sceneShe says she was 'nervous' for her dad to see the documentary (Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty Images for National Geographic Magazine)

"I was really nervous showing the film to my dad," Mary admits. "I took him to a cinema to watch it and kept thinking, 'Oh my goodness, I hope he likes it.'

"The next day, I was at an event and somebody said, 'I saw your dad and he was talking about the documentary for ages.' It's somewhere he's really passionate about so when he heard I was doing the documentary, he was really pleased and it made him think about Abbey Road again and a lot of the stories."

Mary, who is mum to four boys – two with her ex-husband Alistair Donald and two with her current husband Simon Aboud – explains her dad spent a lot of time at the studio and that The Beatles broke the recording mould by starting their sessions later on in the day, often taking them through the night.

Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic scenePaul was 'really pleased' with his daughter's work (Mary McCartney)

"It was a lot of time [at the studio]. The recording process – people come here and there are closed-off spaces with no windows, it could be any time of the day. I hadn’t realised The Beatles were part of changing the way of recording history because as they became more successful, they were able to call the shots and come in a bit later and record later.

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"Some of the engineers said they didn’t really want to be on a Beatles recording because sessions were so open-ended and you could be there until the early hours of the morning and never know it was even going to come to anything because they were experimenting. They had unlimited studio time, so nobody knew when their sessions would end or when they would go home."

Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic sceneMary said her dad spent a lot of time at Abbey Road (Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Asked if she remembers her parents coming home late when they were recording with Wings, Mary says, "Yeah, to a degree. I do remember them coming home late but we'd always wake up with them there. It didn’t encroach on our family life too much. And also you grow up with it, so it is what it is – you’re used to it to a degree."

One of Mary’s favourite moments in the documentary is a modern-day cut of her dad Paul, 80, crossing the zebra crossing, which didn't go as smoothly as planned.

Paul McCartney's daughter says she nearly got him ran over shooting iconic scenePaul was almost ran over recreating the iconic Abbey Road album cover

"The bit where the car nearly ran him over on the zebra crossing, that was so funny. As we were leaving [the studio], I said, 'I'll film you [on the crossing],' and he went over and this car totally didn’t stop for him!"

With what’s sure to be a success in filmmaking now under her belt, Mary, who also has younger half-sister Beatrice, 19, from Paul’s second marriage to Heather Mills, can’t wait to get stuck into more projects.

"I definitely want to direct more," she tells us. "I don’t know what that will be, but it will need to be something I'm passionate about, like I am about Abbey Road."

Lisa Blake

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation