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Dano to Star as Young Brian Wilson in Pohlad's 'Love & Mercy'

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 17, 2013 at 8:04PM

"The Tree of Life" producer Bill Pohlad has been planning to direct a second film for some time. Now he's cast Paul Dano ("Ruby Sparks") as the young Brian Wilson in Oren Moverman's script, "Love and Mercy." The film picks key moments in Wilson's life, with and without the Beach Boys, through decades, and Pohlad is seeking an actor to play the older Wilson as well.
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Paul Dano in 2012's "Ruby Sparks"
Paul Dano in 2012's "Ruby Sparks"

"The Tree of Life" producer Bill Pohlad has been planning to direct a second film for some time. Now he's cast Paul Dano ("Ruby Sparks") as the young Brian Wilson in Oren Moverman's script, "Love and Mercy." The film picks key moments in Wilson's life, with and without the Beach Boys, through the decades. Pohlad is seeking an actor to play the older Wilson as well.

"The Social Network" composer Atticus Ross is in talks to design the score and sound for the film, which will include music by Wilson, who is cooperating with the project.

"I am thrilled that Paul Dano has signed on to play me during one of my most creative explosions and most fulfilling musical times in my career,” said Brian Wilson. “I still can't believe how cool it is that my life will be portrayed on the big screen and to have Bill Pohlad as the captain of the Sloop John B is amazing! It just makes me feel so humble. I can't wait to see it with a full tub of buttered popcorn."  

John Wells and Claire Rudnick Polstein of John Wells Productions will produce along with River Road's Pohlad, who before forming River Road Entertainment, wrote, directed and co-produced his first feature film, "Old Explorers," starring Jose Ferrer and James Whitmore, and started out his career producing and directong commercials and documentaries inclsing profiles of Prince, the late Hall of Fame baseball player Kirby Puckett, and Irish theater director Joe Dowling.

Next up for Dano is Steve McQueen’s "Twelve Years a Slave"; he is currently filming Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.

As for Wells, he directed the film version of the play "August: Osage County," from Tracy Letts’ script, starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Ewan McGregor, which Weinstein will release in 2013.

This article is related to: News, In The Works


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.