Bill Pohlad directed and produced Love & Mercy (2015), a biopic of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys fame. This is Pohlad’s portrait of the talented singer and composer Wilson and is not a “cradle to grave” biopic as he puts it. The film focusses on two different parts of Wilson’s life that is punctuated with his mental illness, which is a phase that not many of us maybe familiar with.
The first phase takes you into the heart of the meteoric rise of The Beach Boys, and the second part takes you to one of the most difficult times in Wilson’s life – his breakdown and treatment in the hand of Dr. Eugene Lundy (Paul Giamatti). While Dr. Lundy helps him in his recovery he also ends up controlling Wilson’s life and keeps him as a virtual prisoner. But, Wilson somehow finds the courage to break free from Dr. Lundy’s clutches with the help of Melinda Ledbetter (Emily Banks). Paul Dano plays the role of a young Wilson and John Cuscack as the older Wilson.
I got an opportunity to interview Pohlad in 2015 in San Francisco when Love & Mercy was shown at the San Francisco International Film Festival. We spoke about the making of Love & Mercy, Paul Giamatti, his love for music and his role as a producer and working with Ang Lee and Terrence Malick. Pohlad helped produce Lee’s Bri Award winning film Brokeback Mountain and Malick’s Tree of Life.