• Interviews

The Lost Weekend: A Love Story

Billed as “a weekend that lasted 18 months and a love story that took 50 years to tell”, The Lost Weekend: A Love Story explores the 18-month relationship that John Lennon had with his 22-year-old Chinese American assistant, May Pang, from 1973 to 1975.

While May Pang was working for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the couple separated. Ono insisted she date Lennon, so he was with a ‘nice girl.’ In reality, Ono thought she could control the young Pang and keep tabs on Lennon – a decision she came to regret after the couple fell deeply in love and moved to Los Angeles together.


Pang became an integral part of Lennon’s life during his most artistically and commercially productive period post-Beatles, when he produced the albums “Mind Games,” “Walls and Bridges,” his only #1 hit single “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” and his Christmas song “Happy Xmas: (War is Over).”

The moving documentary includes old and new interviews with Pang, as well as unseen footage and photos she and Lennon took of each other during their relationship, which ended abruptly when Lennon returned to Ono.


Pang shares her memories of Lennon’s collaborations with Elton John, David Bowie, Harry Nilsson, Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, a secret jam session with Paul McCartney, as well as her role in helping Lennon reunite with his son, Julian, who is interviewed for the documentary. May Pang recently participated in a Q&A on Zoom after a special early screening of the documentary, set for theatrical U.S. release on April 14.

The film is co-produced and directed by documentarian Eve Brandstein. How did it come about?

Eve and I met when she wanted to do a movie on me years ago, when my book ‘Loving John’ came out. That was in the 90s. I said, no. I wasn’t ready. We remained friends. She was in New York one day, chatting about the work she was doing on some documentaries, and I turned around and said “That’s what I want to do; a documentary.” This was 25 years after the first time she asked me. I felt I was finally ready. 

How did you get Julian Lennon to agree to be part of the documentary?

I just thought about it and decided, “OK, I’m going to call him.” I got on the phone and just came right out and asked him. He was gracious enough to say ‘Of course.’ I was glad he was willing to talk. I was with John when he and Cynthia finally met in person for the first time since he left her for Yoko, and I was grateful they got to have closure.

What is the main thing you hope people understand about you and John after watching this documentary?

I want people to know that the relationship that I had with John was a real one. It was not put together (by Yoko Ono). It was really something that we worked at. We lived together. We shared so many things together. It was a real relationship in which we loved each other.

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the start of your 18 months spent with John Lennon. How does it feel telling this story after so long?

It was not something that I went around telling everybody in the world about all the time back then, because it was an everyday thing with us. It feels weird people finding out 50 years later. Now they realize I was there for John at a pivotal time in John’s life, after the dissolution of the Beatles.

Do you have any special mementos, souvenirs, or things you cherish from that time?

John gave me his necklace with the coins that people see that he’s worn. He left me a couple of pairs of his glasses and some drawings he did for me. He also gave me the Mickey Mouse shirt that he wore in footage seen in the film, because we used to exchange clothing. He would wear my t-shirt. He wore my jeans one time and lost them!

If you had to pick a few favorite memories during that period, what would they be?

The obvious one would always be the first song that he wrote for me (“Surprise, Surprise, Sweet Bird of Paradox”), which I did not expect. The second one was when he was recording “#9 Dream” in the studio and asked me to start whispering his name, to be included on the recording. I’m also proudest of getting the boys back together, meaning his (Beatles) brothers. On each coast it was different. In New York we would see John, George and Paul. In L.A. it was John, Paul and Ringo. I was glad that he was able to get closer to all of them when we were together.

What else do you want people to know about John Lennon?

John was a genius. That was his talent. He was born with it. I watched him write songs that took no time at all. He had that talent. But I also want people to know he was human. He was almost childlike. He was so insulated by being so famous so young that he was just discovering things all the time. If he was here today, I could tell you right now that he would love the technology that we’re in. He would be fascinated by this Zoom we are doing. I suspect he would have created havoc out there on social media too!