Chief Beach Boy Brian Wilson has made a deal with producer Mark Gordon to tell his life story in a feature film.
Gordon is teaming with filmmaker David Leaf (who chronicled Wilson’s creation of the album “Smile” in his docu “Beautiful Dreamer”) and Wilson’s managers Ronnie Lippin and Jean Sievers to construct a package that will include rights to Wilson’s vast catalog of songs. They will set a writer shortly and then take the package out to studios.
Gordon Co.’s Lawrence Inglee and Jordan Wynn also will be involved in producing capacities.
“I love the idea of there being a movie on my life, and I can’t wait to see the script,” Wilson told Daily Variety, while preparing to sing “Good Vibrations” and “God Only Knows” during his Tuesday night induction into the U.K. Music Hall of Fame. He was being inducted with Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart and George Martin.
Gordon said Wilson’s willingness to include the rough spots in his life, and the guidance of “Beautiful Dreamer” filmmaker Leaf (who has known Wilson for 30 years), gives the movie its core.
“I admire Brian for his willingness to tell his story truthfully,” Gordon said. “It’s complex and there is a lot to be learned from what he went through. It’s easier to tell that story when you’re in a good place and you have a happy ending. Brian has that now.”
As for airing the difficult parts of his life, Wilson said, “It’s tough, and when I see the movie I’ll be ill at ease at some of the bad parts. But I remember when we made ‘Pet Sounds,’ and I knew we were up to something spiritual and special. I have that feeling again.”
Wilson’s compositions about surfing, girls and cars — and eventually mature love songs — plus soaring harmonies made the Beach Boys’ sound the one that defined Southern California rock music in the 1960s. Deaf in one ear and bullied by an abusive father who imposed his will as the band’s first manager, Wilson had an internal sadness that belied the optimism of his tunes. He suffered depression and a nervous breakdown.
For a time, he made headlines as an eccentric genius who worked from a sandbox in his living room and for his association with therapist Eugene Landy that led to Landy controlling every facet of his life.
Leaf’s docu “Beautiful Dreamer” covered Wilson’s life story and his nearly 40-year quest to complete “Smile,” which Wilson intended as the follow-up to “Pet Sounds,” widely recognized as the Beach Boys’ masterpiece.
Gordon’s producing credits include “Speed,” “Saving Private Ryan” and the just-wrapped Roland Emmerich-directed “10,000 B.C.”