For years, a biopic based on the troubled and triumphant life of the Beach Boys’ creative mastermind, Brian Wilson, has been in the works. Now the film, titled Love & Mercy, is charging full speed ahead, casting actor Paul Dano in the role of young Wilson, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film not only tackles Wilson’s early fame with the Beach Boys, but his personal relationships and struggles with mental illness and depression, which lead to his departure from the band by the mid 1970s. Since there is so much ground to cover within Wilson’s life, there will be two actors portraying the musician. Dano will portray young Wilson, while a second actor that has yet to be cast will play an older Wilson.
Dano, 28, is best known for his work in the films Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood; he most recently appeared in the rom-com Ruby Sparks and the thriller Looper.
“I am thrilled that Paul Dano has signed on to play me during one of my most creative explosions and most fulfilling musical times in my career,” Wilson said of the casting. “I still can’t believe how cool it is that my life will be portrayed on the big screen, and to have Bill Pohlad as the captain of the Sloop John B is amazing! It just makes me feel so humble. I can’t wait to see it with a full tub of buttered popcorn.”
Director Bill Pohlad, best known as a producer on Into the Wild and Tree of Life, acquired the life rights of both Wilson and his wife Melinda last year, as well as rights to use Wilson’s music.
Atticus Ross, who won an Oscar for his Social Network score with Trent Reznor, is in talks to handle the film’s score. The film was written by Oren Moverman, who co-wrote the unconventional Bob Dylan film I’m Not There in 2007.
Love and Mercy has been in the works since last summer, though other Wilson biopics have scrapped over the years.
– Jillian Mapes, Radio.com; photo by Francois Durand/Getty