Thesp to play Beach Boys drummer Wilson

Aaron Eckhart has signed on to play Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson in helmer Randy Miller’s indie music biopic “The Drummer.”

Miller and Jody Savin, who were behind 2008′s “Bottle Shock,” are producing through their banner Unclaimed Freight Prods., along with music industry vet Brad Rosenberger. Savin wrote the script.

Eckhart, who recently landed the lead role in Lionsgate’s “I, Frankenstein,” had been in negotiations to play Wilson for several months. He will serve as exec producer and record his own renditions from Wil-son’s solo album “Pacific Ocean Blue,” released in 1977.

“We’d been trying to figure out who the right person would be to fill this role,” Miller told Variety. “It’s quite a demanding role so it had to be a great actor who could sing.”

Pic, which is skedded to start shooting next year during late spring-early summer, chronicles the last six years of Wilson’s life, before his death in 1983. “There’s a discovery about Dennis with this film,” Miller said. “Everybody knows Brian, but nobody really knows Dennis’ music.”

The filmmakers have secured an overall deal for rights to the music, with two of Wilson’s children, Carl and Jennifer, co-producing.

Jonathan Gardner of Cohen/Gardner negotiated the deal on behalf of the producers, as well as CAA’s Tracey Brennan and David Matlof of Hirsch/Wallerstein for Eckhart.

Thesp recently finished shooting the lead role as an ex-CIA agent in “The Expatriate” and stars with Johnny Depp in the upcoming “The Rum Diary.” He’s repped by CAA.

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