John Lennon: ‘Happy XMas (War Is Over)’ Inspires Animated Film
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s classic holiday song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” has inspired a short film by Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Ono Lennon wanted to make a new video for the iconic song written by his parents. The whole process began in 2021 with the goal of reintroducing the song and its message to a younger generation. One of the first hurdles he came across was determining a story around the song that wasn’t too “goofy.”
At this point, Ono Lennon was able to connect with former Pixar animator Dave Mullins, who did work on Finding Nemo, Up and the 2017 Oscar-nominated Pixar short Lou. The pair came up with a premise of a chess game played between two warring parties with the help of a carrier pigeon. The concept was loosely inspired by the historic Christmas truce during World War I that saw British and German soldiers stop fighting and play soccer together.
Thanks to his involvement in helming The Beatles: Get Back, Jackson then got involved when Ono Lennon asked the Academy Award-winning director to look over his script.
Jackson said, “I remember telling him that an animated short film would take 12 to 14 months to make, and there was a very good chance the war in Ukraine will have resolved by the time it was finished. Here we are, and not only is the misery in Ukraine continuing with no end in sight, there’s now the war in Gaza.”
Following an Oscar-qualifying run, the animated short is looking for distribution. However, it has yet to find it. Considering its premise and the people involved, it’s hard to believe a studio wouldn’t jump at the chance to distribute the film.