California dreamin': MN filmmaker's Beach Boys biopic opens this weekend


Behind the new biopic about the man who once filled the airwaves with the sounds of Southern California is a Minnesotan.

Bill Pohlad's film "Love & Mercy," opens Friday. It tells the story of Brian Wilson, leader and chief songwriter of the Beach Boys, as he struggles to overcome mental illness and an abusive psychiatrist, according to MetaCritic.

The film surfs into cinemas on a wave of critical acclaim, with the review site Rotten Tomatoes having handed it a coveted "Certified Fresh" rating. On Metacritic, its aggregate score of 80 puts it squarely in the well-received category.

It's Pohlad's second directorial effort since 1990, but he's been behind the camera in the decades since, producing Oscar-winners such as "Brokeback Mountain" and "12 Years a Slave," according to his IMDb profile.

So, how did a son of the man who owned the Minnesota Twins find himself in show business?

A love of film, of course.

Pohald told the Star Tribune he attended the Edina Cinema every weekend growing up.

But turning his passion into a career wouldn't be easy.

He started shooting "commercials and small corporate documentaries" in the late 1980s, the paper says. That eventually led to his first feature, "Old Explorers," which was met with middling reviews.

After years of praise as a producer, he decided to get back in the big chair when Oren Moverman – the screenwriter for "Love & Mercy" – brought the project to him and said, "you should direct this," the Pioneer Press reports.

Pohlad told the New York Times he decided to do it partly because of his love of music, though he admitted he wasn't into the Beach Boys growing up and was instead more of a "Beatles guy."

However, he came to appreciate their music later in life and was "intrigued" by Wilson's story, he said.

To check out showtimes near you, click here.

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