Paul Dano On Playing The Beach Boys' Icon Brian Wilson & Finding Musical Inspiration In The Biographical 'Love & Mercy'

In my estimation, Paul Dano is one of the most talented young actors in Hollywood today. He slayed audiences with a gripping and visceral performance in 2007's There Will Be Blood. He became a source of our empathy and hatred in 2013's Prisoners. He was the cruel and merciless slavedriver in 2014's Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave. Even his role as the non-talking emo teenager in 2006's Little Miss Sunshine showed off his intense acting prowess. And now, Dano is portraying living legend Brian Wilson, the talented and troubled frontman of The Beach Boys in Love & Mercy .

"You have to turn fear into healthy fear pretty quick," says Dano of his hesitation in taking on a biographical character who is still alive. "You have to give yourself the chance to do your best for that person. Somehow you move on. It's like an animal instinct, maybe like a chemical kicks in and you somehow get over the fear of that task and just dig in," he says.

In the film directed by Bill Pohlad, Dano plays Wilson in the 1960s, with John Cusack portraying the same character 20 years later. Dano's Wilson is young, scared, inspired. The 30-year-old actor said he was looking to capture Wilson's spirit. "I spent my time searching for whatever that was. For someone as honest and raw as Brian is, to go for any sort of mimicry is the opposite of what we all wanted," Dano explains. "John [Cusack] and I both found that Brian is his music, and that's where his spirit comes from. It's where a lot of his life is. It just keeps coming back to the music."

Watch the trailer for Love & Mercy below. The film hits theaters Friday, June 6.

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Images: River Road Entertainment; YouTube