'Love & Mercy' story of Beach Boys' Brian Wilson premieres at SXSW

 "Love and Mercy is what you need tonight"...words written by a true music legend and one of my personal favorite musicians...Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.  He's got quite the story and it's not an easy one to tell but I got the chance to see it this week and believe me, Love and Mercy does an incredible job of telling it.

The film stars Paul Dano as a young Brian Wilson moving beyond the surf tunes and discovering everything he's capable of musically.

John Cusack plays an older Brian Wilson struggling with mental illness and being mis-managed personally and professionally by controversial psychologist Dr. Eugene Landy.

That's when he meets future wife Melinda Ledbetter played by Elizabeth Banks.

Ahead of the U.S. premiere of Love and Mercy at South By Southwest, I got to sit down and chat with director Bill Pohlad, John Cusack and the man himself...Brian Wilson.

I asked Wilson if some of the film was hard for him to watch.

"Yeah some of it was a little rougher for me.  Because some of the characters that are cast are so true to life that I actually believed those characters were really you know who they were," Wilson said.

Brian says that includes Paul Giamatti's stirring portrayal of Dr. Landy who is seen in the film controlling every aspect of his life.

"He passed away about 6 or 7 years ago I guess.  But the guy that played him was so true to life that it absolutely scared me.  I was absolutely in fear for about 10 minutes," he said.

As far as the choice to use 2 different actors, Director Bill Pohlad says he didn't want to do a traditional biopic but rather a portrait of Brian Wilson.

"At that point you start to think it's better to use 2 actors than one, it's more reflective of all the different phases and eras that Brian's been through," he said.

Cusack, a long-time Beach Boys admirer says Brian and his wife Melinda welcomed him into their home and gave him plenty of access to their story.

"I've had a little -- just a small taste of it where people want things from you so I'm also aware that everybody wants to talk to Brian and they want to understand his genius and they want to kind of have moments with him so I didn't want to pressure him but yet I wanted to be around him to soak up as much of him as I could to play him.  So I was very grateful they were so gracious to allow me into their home," Cusack said.

Love and Mercy arrives in theaters June 5th.

Watch Casey Claiborne's extended interview with the trio here.




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