The live-action movie adaptation of Haruki Murakami's popular novel "Norwegian Wood" has actually received approval to use the original Beatles song of the same name as its theme song.
The song "Norwegian Wood," first recorded on the 1965 Beatles album "Rubber Soul," inspired the title of Murakami's novel when he published it in 1987. The song is a thematic element of the story, and the film will faithfully include it in multiple scenes. Although director Tran Anh Hung felt it was only natural to use "Norwegian Wood" as the movie's theme song, negotiations were still incomplete by the time filming wrapped up last August.
Apple Records, which owns the rights to the Beatles catalog, initially refused. The film's producer considered having another artist cover the song, but Hung insisted that the original should be used. His perseverance paid off, as he finally secured approval in December. Apple had a policy against using the Beatles' version of the song in a commercial work, but the company ultimately made an exception for the "Norwegian Wood" adaptation, reportedly taking into account the tremendous popularity of the Murakami novel. So far, it has been translated into 36 languages and has sold 10 million copies in Japan alone.
The last time a Beatles tune was the theme song for a Japanese film was nearly 30 years ago in 1981, when "Let It Be" was used in "Akuryou Tou."
The "Norwegian Wood" movie, which stars Kenichi Matsuyama (25) and Rinko Kikuchi (29), opens in theaters this December.