Brian Wilson New Documentary Due: Report

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Brian Wilson

A new documentary on Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson is nearing completion after three years in production, according to an article published Dec. 3 by Variety. The film is directed by Brent Wilson (no relation to Brian), whose previous credits include a doo-wop documentary, Streetlight Harmonies.

The Brian Wilson film is as yet untitled but is scheduled to be ready for viewing by potential distributors next month. It will include commentary on Wilson from such fellow high-profile rockers as Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, says the report.

Says the article: “Acting as producer and financier is Tim Headington, who’s been a producer or executive producer on Jersey Boys, Hugo, Argo and World War Z; joining him as producer is former music biz exec Theresa Steele. Wilson’s longtime manager Jean Sievers is co-producing, and executive producers include Wilson and his wife Melinda Wilson as well as Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine.”

[Brian Wilson is currently on tour performing the Beach Boys’ Christmas Album. Buy tickets here and here.]

The doc is described as “non-linear” and “definitive” in the article: “Seventy-five percent of what is in the film is Brian,” Brent Wilson is quoted as saying, “and then we were really selective about who we wanted to appear in the film, using people like Springsteen, Elton and Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) to reinforce the themes.”

The Beach Boys in 1967, with Brian Wilson (center)

As the piece points out, Brian Wilson’s life has been documented previously in the biopic Love and Mercy, the documentary I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times and various Beach Boys stories. The director told Variety, “We all really felt that Brian is living this really remarkable third act in his life, that as far as I can think of very few artists get to do. I was intrigued by the fact that here Brian was doing something at the age of 75 that he didn’t have the courage to do at 25, which was touring.”

It also says, “Much of the doc involves the legendary musician sharing memories while driving around with Rolling Stone’s Fine for five or six hours a day during filming, visiting his childhood haunts in Hawthorne [California], checking out old photo shoot locales in Malibu, or returning to the studios where Beach Boys classics were created.”

Also noted is that interviews with Brian himself were scuttled when the director realized, after attempting to interview Wilson, that he is notoriously difficult to interview: “I did the first 20-minute interview, and it just went terribly. And I did a second interview, and it just went terribly. And I knew that I didn’t have a film. He’s been interviewed a million times since he was 19 years old and been asked a million questions the same way, and he hates being interviewed. He just doesn’t like cameras. He gets so nervous around them. I see these documentaries and these interviews with Brian, and he’s always so uncomfortable. And you can tell he’s giving the pat answers. Never rude, because Brian doesn’t have a rude bone in his body, but he’s just going to say whatever he thinks is going to get him done the quickest. It reminds me of going to the doctor or something: ‘Just give me the shot and get it over with.’”

Watch a scene from Love and Mercy, the Brian Wilson biopic

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