Love & Mercy director Bill Pohlad made a bold choice with his Brian Wilson biopic: he cast both Paul Dano and John Cusack to play the legendary Beach Boys co-founder at different points in his life. It was a risky plan, but it worked. Pohlad's uniquely structured bio-pic is one of the few summer releases now in the Oscar race.
Dano plays the 1960's "Pet Sounds" era Brian Wilson, while Cusack plays Wilson in the 1980's -- during a time when abusive therapist Eugene Landy controlled almost every aspect of his life. The person who helped Wilson break free was Melinda Ledbetter, played in the film by Elizabeth Banks. Both the real Brian Wilson and Melinda Ledbetter served as consultants on the film.
This is Bill Pohlad's second movie to direct, but he's no stranger to the industry. Pohlad spent the past decade primarily as a producer. He's got a nose for award-winners -- including Brokeback Mountain, Into the Wild, The Tree of Life, and 12 Years a Slave.
Bill Pohlad is the son of Carl Pohlad, who became a banking billionaire and owned of the Minnesota Twins baseball team until his death in 2009. Son Bill is still on the team's board but he didn't go into the family business. Instead he fell in love with film at an early age and of course, what he really wanted to do was direct.
His first attempt, Old Explorers,was a bomb. It took 24 years for Pohlad to try again with Love & Mercy. He tells us why he waited, and what it was about this project in particular that compelled him to jump back into directing.