Amplifier - Archives

Pet Sights: Brian Wilson Biopic on the Way


View photo


One day, probably in the near future, Hollywood will be a movie-making factory exclusively pumping out music biopics. Right now there are films about the Clash, James Brown, Kurt Cobain, B.B. King, Queen, Janis Joplin, Mötley Crüe, Pink Floyd's youth choir, the Beatles' Apple Corps, and two competing Jeff Buckley films in the works, and that's just naming some. Now we can add another to the list, and it's a big one: the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson.

River Road Entertainment is spearheading the project after securing the rights to Wilson's life story from Brian's wife Melinda. (It's odd that Brian, who is alive and well and hearing voices in his head, doesn't sign off on the rights to his own life story, but he probably doesn't care.) According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film "will take an unconventional look at Wilson's unique musical process as well as his struggles with mental illness, and how he managed to persevere as an artist with the love and support of his wife Melinda." Think Walk the Line with sandboxes, a coastline, and LSD.

Movies about great musical talents deserve talents behind the camera, and though they rarely get top-notch names, the Wilson biopic's crew is impressive: Oren Moverman, the director of The Messenger and the screenwriter behind the bizarre Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There (and the planned Kurt Cobain biopic), will write. River Road Entertainment founder Bill Pohlad, who produced the Cannes-winning The Tree of Life, will produce.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Pohlad compared the Wilson biopic to Best Picture Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind for its portrayal of a man on the brink of genius and madness. "You don't have to know the music here in the same way you didn't have to know the math in Beautiful Mind, " Pohlad said. "What we want to do is let you experience the story in a personal way." That means lots of film spent on Wilson's most infamous era, when he became a recluse post-Pet Sounds while working on the Beach Boys' scrapped Smile (it's finally coming out this summer).

Of course, this isn't the only Beach Boys movie in the works. In the early '90s, there were two competing made-for-TV films revolving around the Wilson brothers, and now it appears that Fox 2000 still plans to release a fictional movie where the Beach Boys' music is crucial to the plotline, sort of like what Mamma Mia did with ABBA. Presumably, James Franco isn't competing for the lead role in either film this time.

[Photo: George Pimentel/]

View Comments