While filmmakers have spent years dramatizing every insignificant moment in the lives of The Beatles down to John Lennon’s toddler years, The Beach Boys have only seen their story transformed into melodrama by various TV movies—this despite the fact that theirs is arguably way more interesting, with much higher percentages of bitter in-fighting, nervous breakdowns, and Charles Manson. At last, River Road Entertainment is stepping up to right that wrong and turn Brian Wilson’s turbulent life story into a proper feature film. I’m Not There screenwriter Oren Moverman is currently working on a screenplay based on Wilson’s life, one that will focus on the group leader’s strange musical process and his many years of struggling with mental illness.
Like I’m Not There, the as-yet-untitled film won’t be a straight biopic, but rather will dip in and out of various specific eras in Wilson’s life, such as his productive Pet Sounds period and, presumably, that long post-Smile era where he proved you can do a lot of cocaine and still lay around in bed and get fat. Not surprisingly, Wilson’s problems with anxiety seem to be the dominating storyline here, as the producers are comparing it to “a tuneful A Beautiful Mind, exploring the intersection of genius and madness.” And unlike a lot of other rock biopics, at least we already know this one has a happy ending.