Brian Wilson brings his otherworldly self to the debut of Beach Boy biopic Love and Mercy

Brian Wilson brings his otherworldly self to the debut of Beach Boy biopic Love and Mercy

GCiampini_LnM-1212-top (Image: Giordano Ciampini)
 

If my girlfriend and I have something we might consider “our song,” it’s “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. I told this to its author, Brian Wilson—i.e. the storied, reclusive genius behind America’s favourite band—on Sunday evening at the premiere of Love and Mercy, the Bill Pohlad biopic that lays bare Wilson’s lifelong troubles and triumphs. “What does it mean when someone tells you something like that?” I asked. Wilson looked at me and said, “It means love between two people. Thanks.” Then he shuffled off toward Elgin Theatre, leaving behind him a wide-eyed fanboy (i.e. me) and seeming pretty satisfied with his six-word response. I was told he would be “childlike” and “otherworldly,” but I had no idea what that meant—until I did.

Elizabeth Banks had no reservations about calling The Beach Boys, categorically, “the greatest American band of all time” (and she dished a bit about The Hunger Games, too). Paul Dano, who stars as young Wilson, shared an early memory of riding in the backseat of his parents’ car on a family roadtrip with “Surfin’ U.S.A.” on the radio. He pointed out how Wilson’s music has become enmeshed in the fabric of our lives. As he spoke, his partner Zoe Kazan (of The F Word fame) flew in and squeezed up to his shoulder. Cute! Unfortunately, John Cusack, who plays older Wilson, skipped right by, but I imagine that he must have fielded tons of questions about music in life, in film and in general. But never mind that—guys, remember when I met Brian Wilson?