Paul Dano to Play Beach Boy Brian Wilson in LOVE & MERCY; Atticus Ross Will Design the Film’s Soundscape

     January 17, 2013


The upcoming Brian Wilson biopic has a lead actor.  THR reports that Paul Dano has been tapped to star as the brainchild behind The Beach Boys in Love & Mercy.  The film will be directed by Bill Pohlad, a producer on Tree of Life and Into the Wild  Additionally, Trent Reznor’s The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo score collaborator Atticus Ross has signed on to “design the film’s soundscape.” The pic will cover several decades of Wilson’s life as he struggles with mental illness and his relationship with his wife.  For those unfamiliar, Wilson was one of the formative members of The Beach Boys and is largely responsible for the masterpiece that is Pet Sounds.  Hit the jump for more details.

[Update: We’ve received the press release which includes comments from Wilson himself regarding the casting.  Read on after the jump]

the-beach-boys-imageIn addition to designing the film’s soundscape, Atticus Ross will also be working on the soundtrack which will obviously include plenty of Wilson’s own music.  The filmmakers secured Wilson’s life rights and those of his wife Melinda, so this should be a fairly comprehensive look at the musician’s life.  Producers are looking to cast two different actors to portray Wilson at different periods of his life, and Dano will be playing the younger version.  The other Brian Wilson has not yet been cast.  Oren Moverman (Rampage) wrote the script, and production on Love & Mercy is expected to begin at some point this summer.

Here’s the press release:

LOS ANGELES, CA, JANUARY 17, 2013 – Bill Pohlad, Academy Award® nominated producer, is set to direct Love & Mercy with Paul Dano (LooperRuby SparksThere Will Be Blood) starring as legendary musician Brian Wilson in his early years. Pohlad is also casting an actor to play Brian Wilson later in his life.

Academy Award® winning composer Atticus Ross (The Social Network) is in talks to work on the sound design of the film and the soundtrack, which will include the music of Brian Wilson.

“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,” said Brian Wilson. “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.”

John Wells and Claire Rudnick Polstein (John Wells Productions) will produce along with River Road founder Bill Pohlad.  Oren Moverman, who co-wrote and directed The Messenger, which earned him an Academy Award® Nomination for Best Original Screenplay, wrote the script for Love & Mercy.

River Road Entertainment and John Wells Productions are aggressively developing Love & Mercy, which centers on the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. Rather than a bio pic, the film will take an unconventional look at seminal moments in Wilson’s life, his artistic genius, his profound struggles, and the love that kept him alive.

The film marks a return to directing for Pohlad, who prior to forming River Road Entertainment, wrote, directed and co-produced his first feature film, Old Explorers, starring veteran actors Jose Ferrer and James Whitmore. Pohlad began his career directing and producing numerous commercial and documentary film projects. His early documentary film credits included profiles of the rock star Prince, the late Hall of Fame baseball player Kirby Puckett, and Irish theater director Joe Dowling.

Paul Dano is represented by Anonymous Content and WME. He is currently filming Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal and will next be seen in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave.

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