Heroes and Villains: Love & Mercy‘s Paul Dano on Playing Brian Wilson


This article originally appeared onRolling Stone.

The guy in the short-sleeved, striped button-down shirt certainly looks happy enough, playing the bass alongside his brothers and relatives, watching the kids dance to his band’s hits about girls and cars and surfing. But something is clearly troubling the Beach Boys’ singer-songwriter and resident musical genius Brian Wilson, and in the film Love & Mercy, the epiphany that will give birth to both creative heights and a descent into dark times is communicated in a few facial expressions. There’s the silent look of dread on Wilson’s face, as hears the crowd roaring and a cacophony of voices in his head starting to get louder. And then, a few scenes, later, there’s the sheer excitement and optimism beaming from his smile when he tells his band mates to head to Japan without him. “I’ll stay behind in the studio,” he says. “When…

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