'Pitch Perfect 2' Director Elizabeth Banks On Tackling Dramatic 'Love & Mercy' Role Opposite John Cusack
She's known for her comedic and over the top performances in films like Pitch Perfect and The Hunger Games , but as Love & Mercy proves, drama looks good on Elizabeth Banks. The Pitch Perfect 2 director takes on the role of Melinda Wilson, the real life wife of The Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson in the biographical film co-starring John Cusack and Paul Dano. Though thoughts of The Beach Boys may conjure visions of sandy beaches, wayfarer sunglasses, sunshine and surfboards, Love & Mercy portrays a much darker side of the iconic musician's life. "I was seduced by the script," Banks says of portraying Mrs. Wilson. "I didn't know the story, I was totally new to this second chapter, this chapter with Melinda."
While Paul Dano, who portrays Wilson as a young man in the 1960s, has more documented source material to form his character off of, Banks didn't have such tangible inspiration for crafting Melinda. "I did all the work with her," the 41-year-old actor says. "When I met Melinda, I felt very connected to her, and it was a big relief. We developed trust very quickly," she says. "She's very fierce, she's very loyal, she's very devoted to Brian."
In the film, we are introduced to Melinda when she meets Wilson at a car dealership. He strolls in to by a Cadillac, and Melinda, a gorgeous car saleswoman, has no clue who she's helping. "They created a really amazing, beautiful life together. The fact that they had not just survived but thrived was so inspiring and encouraging to me," says Banks. "I think Melinda saw their life together very early on in their relationship, and I tried to see it as well."
She concluded: "The best day I had in this movie making experience was getting the email from Melinda that she liked the movie. Up to that moment it was anxiety over whether or not she'd like it," she sayd. "The generosity that it takes to give your life to a bunch of yahoos to put on screen is so intense, and I felt mostly gratitude that I had this amazing resource to work with."
Watch the trailer for Love & Mercy below. The film hits theaters Friday, June 6.
Images: River Road Entertainment; YouTube