Yesterday, a romantic comedy about Jack, a struggling musician who gets hit by a bus and wakes up in a world where nobody remembers The Beatles but him, opens Friday.  The movie also stars Ed Sheeran — fitting, since the character of Jack was literally based on him.

In the movie, Jack, played by Himesh Patel, becomes a superstar by passing off the Beatles’ songs as his own, and Ed helps him navigate the pitfalls of stardom.  Screenwriter Richard Curtis purposely included elements of Ed’s life into the script — but oddly, he wasn’t the first choice for the role.  The producers wanted Coldplay‘s Chris Martin, but director Danny Boyle is happy Martin passed.

“It just seems like not a very good idea now, because Sheeran was so perfect for it!” Boyle tells ABC Radio. “He’s obviously got a very similar life story to the one that we imagine for Jack.”

“He’s a guy from Suffolk, [England]  who’s playing the local pubs and clubs, not very successfully,” Boyle says of Jack. “And he’s suddenly catapulted to stratospheric fame, but comes home and marries the girl he knew at school.”

“It’s kind of perfect,” Boyle adds. “And [Ed] happened to be touring, playing to crowds of 80,000 every night, while we were filming! So we were able to nip in and use his crowd for Jack’s concert appearance at the end of the film.”

But what if Ed had said no to the role too?  Who could they have gotten instead?

Boyle laughs, “Well, Ed was very funny, because we’d [asked] Chris Martin [first]…and he said, ‘I think you went to Harry Styles second,’ which we didn’t.”

“Although Harry Styles was very good in the Chris Nolan film [Dunkirk],” Boyle muses. “So maybe we would had gone to Harry Styles, if Ed Sheeran had said no.”

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