Love and Mercy trailer

The story of Brian Wilson and his work with the Beach Boys has been elevated to American musical mythology. The songs by Wilson and his brothers and bandmates had a dramatic and sunny effect on pop music just as Wilson’s own life was fraught with instability. Love and Mercy dramatizes his story, not for the first time, but in perhaps the most complete way to date — by splitting him in two. In the Love and Mercy trailer you’ll see John Cusack as Brian Wilson… and Paul Dano as Brian Wilson, with Cusack playing the troubled songwriter in later years, and Dano playing him at his peak. Read More »

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Love & Mercy

Brian Wilson wasn’t a conventional person, so why should he get a conventional biopic? Love & Mercy casts not one but two actors as the Beach Boys musician. Paul Dano plays him in the 1960s, when he was a young man on track for greatness; John Cusack plays him in the 1980s, as he’s struggling to get out from under an abusive relationship with his doctor Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti).

Leaving aside the fact that Dano, Cusack, and Wilson don’t really look alike at all, Love & Mercy seems like an artful exploration of an American music icon. Elizabeth Banks also stars as Melinda Ledbetter, the woman who would become Wilson’s second wife. Watch the Love and Mercy trailer after the jump.

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With one Beach Boys biopic already on the way, another is gaining momentum. Paul Dano has signed on to star as Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy, a new film by Oscar-nominated producer Bill Pohlad (Tree of Life, Into the Wild). Specifically, he’ll play the younger version of Wilson. Another actor is being sought to portray Wilson in his more current state.

The big question with most musical biopics is whether the film has actually managed to nab the rights to the artist’s tunes. So I’ll just get that out of the way — yes, Love & Mercy will include Wilson’s real music. It’ll also feature additional soundtrack material and sound design by Atticus Ross, who picked up an Academy Award for scoring (with Trent Reznor) The Social Network a few years ago. More details after the jump.

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