After making the rounds of film festivals and receiving rave reviews, the Brian Wilson biopic "Love & Mercy" opens wide today (June 5).
The film stars Paul Dano as the young Wilson during the Beach Boys' early career, including the making of the "Pet Sounds" and "SMiLE" albums, and John Cusack as the drug-addled 80s Wilson under the controversial care of psychologist Eugene Landy, with Elizabeth Banks as Wilson's second (and current) wife Melinda.
Wilson tells us that he's pleased with the film, even if it's hard to watch some of the darker moments of his life on the big screen: "Well, I thought it was cast really good and it was really factual and a really great experience to watch...It brought back a lot of memories when I took drugs and things."
Director Bill Pohlad tells us his goal was to make "Love & Mercy" a more insightful experience than the usual biopic: "I knew that I didn't want to do a biopic; those kinds of movies just don't interest me. For some things they're OK, and I'm sure I've enjoyed many of those kinds of movies over the years but it really wasn't what I was interested in making. Usually in a biopic situation you end up having to pretty much hit all the big moments in somebody's life, and certainly in Brian's life there were so many big moments, so many dramatic things that happened in his life that...it would have to be, like, a miniseries, so many different things have happened to him. And you don't really get to be close to the character and that's what was of interest to me... So that's what I wanted was something more on a personal and human level to the film. That's why we kind of did this approach and avoided the biopic thing."
"Love & Mercy" debuted at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and won the Best Original Song prize at the 2015 Nashville Film Festival for "One Kind of Love."
Wilson begins a tour on June 18 in Saratoga, Calif., joined by Beach Boys mates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.