Fans sue Universal for non-appearance of actress in Beatles-themed romcom ‘Yesterday’

Ana de Armas
Cuban actress Ana de Armas (Image credit: Sean Gallagher/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Two fans have launched a class action lawsuit against Universal for what they claim as ‘deceptive, and misleading advertising’ in including actress Ana de Armas in the trailer for the Beatles-heavy romcom Yesterday, which starred former EastEnders actor Himesh Patel.

De Armas is included in the trailer for Yesterday, but her scenes didn’t make the actual movie.

According to Deadline, two American fans, Conor Woulfe and Peter Michael Rosza, who each paid $3.99 to rent the film from, are suing the production company who made the Richard Curtis comedy about a young man Jack (Patel) who after a bike accident wakes up in a world where no one knows The Beatles’ music apart from him. 

He then launches a music career passing off The Beatles classics as his own songs.

Jack’s love interest is played by Lily James and De Armas was meant to play a US star who turns his head, momentarily.

The lawsuit alleges: “...Defendant’s nationwide advertising and promotion of the movie Yesterday represents to prospective movie viewers that the world famous actress Ana De Armas has a substantial character role in the film. Defendant’s movie Yesterday, however, fails to include any appearance of Ana De Armas whatsoever. Accordingly, Defendant’s advertising and promotion of the movie Yesterday is false, misleading, and deceptive.”

Watch De Armas in the Yesterday trailer at the 2:00 mark.

The Vicar of Dibley creator Curtis explained why the scene was in the trailer, but not the movie: “Ana De Armas as a complicating factor when he [Jack] arrived in L.A. for the first time. And I think the audience did not like the fact that his eyes even strayed. Because then some people would go, ‘Oh, he really doesn’t deserve her. He really doesn’t deserve Lily.’ You know, it’s one of those things where it’s some of our favourite scenes from the film, but we had to cut them for the sake of the whole.”

Yesterday, which also co-stars Ed Sheeran, was a box office hit, making over $150 million at cinemas globally.

Yesterday cast

Ed Sheeran, Lily James and Himesh Patel on the 'Yesterday' yellow carpet (Image credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Woulfe and Rosza suggest that because Himesh Patel, who recently starred in Don't Look Up for Netflix, and Lily James were relatively unknown on the global stage the producers used De Armas’s profile to promote the film.

The suit seeks damages and all ticket revenue for the two men and other members of the class action and for an injunction preventing the Defendant (Universal)  from 'further engaging in its unlawful, unfair and fraudulent conduct'.

Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.