'Love & Mercy' Star John Cusack On Playing The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson In Controversial New Film
Thanks to their name, their album covers, and the choice diction that fills their sweet melodies, the iconic rock band The Beach Boys emits a certain brand of California love. Rolling waves, tanned skin, vintage surf boards, and easy, breezy west coast living. But the life of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys' leader and co-founder, was anything but easy. And now, audiences will have the chance to dive into the public and private aspects of the famed musician's long career in the biographical Love & Mercy , a film which stars both John Cusack and Paul Dano as Wilson in different parts of his life. "The period that I played in Brian's life was much less public than the period Paul played," Cusack says.
"I'd known about Brian's musical legacy. I knew what he meant to American culture... But he had removed himself from public life. There wasn't as much information or knowledge of him in that era. There were a lot of legends, a lot of superstition about it, but there was more lore than fact," says Cusack. The second part of Wilson's life revolves around his relationship with controversial therapist Eugene Landy, played in the film by Paul Giamatti.
"Brian and Melinda were nice enough to talk to me and let me ask questions. They wanted it to be factual and accurate," Cusack says. "Paul and I both just dug into Smile and Pet Sounds Sessions because that's where Brian in this movie reaches his creative apex, removes himself, then struggles to put his life back together, and he falls in love with Melinda," the seasoned actor says.
The film is a portrait of Brian Wilson and his future wife Melinda, starting with Wilson as a young man with a successful career in the 1960s, and following him into the 1980s, showing how his success came at an extreme personal cost.
"If I'm going to be making films, this is the kind of thing I want to be doing if I'm going to stay in the business," Cusack says. "My own opinion is that you can hear everything about Brian in his music. If you just listen carefully, it's all there," he says, adding: "I'm in the total immersion school. If you're making Amadeus, you listen to Mozart. If you're making Love & Mercy, you have the Mozart of rock and roll."
Watch the trailer for Love & Mercy below. The film hits theaters Friday, June 6.
Images: River Road Entertainment; Getty