Skip to main content

Minnesota filmmaker Pohlad unveils Brian Wilson biopic

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Minnesota filmmaker Bill Pohlad is back in the director's chair – nearly 25 years after his debut – to tell the story of legendary Beach Boys singer-songwriter Brian Wilson.

Pohlad, one of the sons of late Twins owner Carl Pohlad, unveiled "Love & Mercy" Sunday night at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The film stars Paul Dano as the young, innovative Wilson and John Cusack as the musician in the later stages of his life as a complicated recluse. Elizabeth Banks also stars as Wilson's second wife, Melinda Ledbetter, and Paul Giamatti plays Dr. Eugene Landy, the controversial psychologist who treated the fragile musician.

"Love & Mercy" is Bill Pohlad's first as director since "Old Explorers" in 1990. Since then, Pohlad has taken on the role of producer through his Minneapolis-based River Road Entertainment, financially backing projects including the Oscar-nominated film "Brokeback Mountain" and "The Tree of Life," and the 2013 Best Picture Oscar winner "12 Years a Slave."

By the looks of early reviews, Pohlad's return to the director's chair is being well-received.

The Hollywood Reporter says "Love & Mercy" is a "deeply satisfying pop biopic whose subject's bifurcated creative life lends itself to an unconventional structure."

IndieWire also praises the film for its unique structure, which leaps back and forth between the stories of the Wilson in the 1960s and the 1980s.

"Dispensing with staid biopic conventions, director Bill Pohlad nimbly intercuts between two key periods in Wilson's life, shining a double spotlight on his rise to stardom with the Beach Boys in the sixties and his remarkable eighties solo resurgence," IndieWire says.

Both publications laud Dano's and Cusack's performances; THR saying "Cusack gives one of the best performances of his career," while IndieWire noting Dano "does a stellar job of discovering the man excited by new musical possibilities, fearful of failure and quietly haunted by the sense that there is something wrong inside of him."

Pohlad tells the New York Times that he's "definitely nervous" as he awaits potential bids from buyers to distribute the film this week, especially since he's directing the film this time around.

“This is much more personal. There’s much more on the line for me,” Pohlad tells the newspaper.

See the real Wilson perform the song "Love & Mercy" below.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 1.58.08 PM

Fatal crash shuts down southbound I-35 north of Twin Cities

A massive backup has built in wake of the fatal crash.

Christopher Keyes

Prolific speeder charged in crash that killed woman, 75, in Plymouth

The man has seven speeding tickets dating back to 2019.

minneapolis police

Hunt for suspect who broke into apartment, fatally stabbed man

The homicide is the 57th to happen this year in the city.

minnesota state fair

How to save money at the Minnesota State Fair this year

The fair released its money-saving tips Thursday, including on parking, admission and entertainment.

Motel 6 Rochester

Threat of 'potential overdoses' among youths prompts Motel 6 raid

Rochester police says fentanyl pills were among the items seized.

boyd huppert

Boyd Huppert, Twin Cities TV stations among Murrow Award winners

The KARE 11 personality known for his 'Land of 10,000 Stories' feature was among the national winners.

Bar beer

Study: Excessive drinking cost Minnesotans almost $8 billion in 2019

The study was published by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


Price of Disney+ is going up, unless you want ads

The ad-free version of Disney+ will increase from $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month, effective Dec. 8.


Mall of America shooting suspects arrested in Chicago

The two suspects were spotted leaving a barber shop.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

Walz: Increased state law enforcement presence to stay in Twin Cities

A multi-agency effort to curb crime will go on until further notice.