TORONTO — What's the best Beatles song?
The revolutionary tunes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are back on the big-screen with "Across the Universe," a boy-meets-girl musical romance set amid the social turbulence of Vietnam and the 1960s.
In advance of its theatrical debut Friday, "Across the Universe" played at the Toronto International Film Festival, where The Associated Press asked stars what Beatles song was their favorite.
Most hemmed and hawed, some said it was impossible to pick one and a couple chose a certain post-Beatles Lennon composition.
A sampling of they had to say:
_ Evan Rachel Wood, star of "Across the Universe":
"It's hard, because it depends on where you are in your life and what day it is, because they really covered everything. So right now, hmm, recently, I would sing `Happiness Is a Warm Gun.' I got into that because of `Across the Universe.' It's my favorite number in the movie, how it's this strange, dark song. I like their weird stuff, too, even when they did `Blue Jay Way' and `Fool on the Hill.' You listen to it and it was so ahead of its time. You hear Radiohead nowadays and you're like, wow, I can see these strange similarities."
_ Julie Taymor, director of "Across the Universe":
"People have asked me that already, and I better come up with one. I love `Something (in the Way She Moves).' I love `And I Love Her.' ... I like all of the different periods. Every period, there's something so great about their work. If you say in the early period, what's my favorite, I think `All My Loving' is incredible. But now I'm stuck on the way these kids (in the movie) sing it."
_ Former President Jimmy Carter, subject of the documentary "Man From Plains":
"My favorite is `Imagine.' When I go to a strange country, Cuba and other places, in some of those nations, `Imagine' has become a national anthem. If you go to Havana, for instance, you'll see a statue of John Lennon. ... When we go to a folk performance or a symphony concert or to modern American music, they always play `Imagine,' and it's one of my favorites just personally. If you listen to the lyrics closely, you'll see that it's against religion, it's against national boundaries, it's against nationalism, it's against jingoism, but the impact it has on people is profound."
_ Jonathan Demme, director of "Man From Plains," whose musical documentaries include "Neil Young: Heart of Gold" and the Talking Heads concert film "Stop Making Sense":
"Oh, gosh, `In My Life,' I guess. It explains love amongst people, how the passage of time impacts them. I just think it's gorgeous."
_ Brad Pitt, star of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford":
"`Come Together,' `While My Guitar Gently Weeps.' I love the psychedelic phase, but yeah, that's really tough for me to pick. `Come Together' is (great). I can't tell you why. I'm not good that way. I just know it works for me."
_ Michael Caine and Jude Law, stars of "Sleuth":
Caine: "`Hey Jude.' It's got nothing to do with him (pointing to Law and giving a huge laugh). It's philosophical. It's deep. It's a deep song."
Law: "I don't have favorites."
Caine: "I'll take back `Hey Jude' and you can say `Hey Jude.'"
Law: "No, it wouldn't be `Hey Jude.' I've got so many memories of that song being played. Thank God, it's a good song. It would be terrible to be named after an awful song. `Across the Universe,' actually. I like that one. I've always enjoyed Lennon's nonsense verse."
_ Emily Mortimer, co-star of "Lars and the Real Girl":
"`In My Life,' I think, or `Here, There and Everywhere.' They just make me sort of cry. I feel like `In My Life' I'd like played at my funeral, and `Here, There and Everywhere' is just the most romantic, heartbreaking, sad, beautiful song that I know."
_ Michael Douglas, star of "King of California":
"I love `Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' as an album. And `Imagine' probably would come to mind. It is the ideal that you always hope this is what the world could become. This is the hope and the dream and the wish. And certainly being part of the '60s, it was something that we imagined was going to happen. That was going to be the way the world could be."
_ Kenneth Branagh, director of "Sleuth":
"I could pick one for you. `For No One.' It's a lovely tune. It's just that sad thing, `The day breaks, your mind aches, you find that all her words of kindness linger on when she no longer needs you.' It's a great, great popular tune that has that melancholic canopy over it."
Ryan Gosling, star of "Lars and the Real Girl":
"My mother's a huge Beatles freak, so I grew up on their music, and that's all we listened to in the house. This is going to be a tough question. Favorite Beatles song? It's not really Beatles, but I love some of George Harrison so much. Huh, favorite Beatles song? I'm probably not supposed to take this long, huh? This is a real test. This is where the rubber meets the road, my friend, this question. This is a great question. Separate the wheat from the chaff on this one. Aye-yi-yi, favorite Beatles song. OK, I'll pick a record, then I'll pick something from the record (hums to himself). OK, I'm getting there. `Here, There and Everywhere.'"
"You can't ask me that. It's going to take me another five minutes to figure that one out."