How did you come across the story of a schoolteacher who met John Lennon in 1966?
I was in Almeria, in the south of Spain, where my family went a lot, and I opened the paper and read a story about a monument on Lennon, because it was 40 years since he came there to film How I Won the War. And I read about this teacher explaining that he was 42 at the time and he made a trip to meet John Lennon with these notebooks of Beatles lyrics that he used to teach English to his students. He spent 15 minutes with him, and he used a Spanish expression: he said Lennon “seemed to me like a perfect caballero”.
But the films also includes two other central characters, a young boy running away from home and a young pregnant teen.
When I saw the story about the teacher, I said to my daughter, “Here’s a great character for a movie.” I didn’t say, “Here’s a great movie”. But some months later it clicked with a story that happened in my family, when my brother ran out because he wanted long hair.