Former Wiltonian stars in film about Beach Boys frontman

Wilton High School graduate and award-winning actor Paul Dano, 30, plays young Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson in the biographical film Love & Mercy.
According to, Love & Mercy focuses on Mr. Wilson’s life, “from his success with highly influential orchestral pop albums to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy,” played by two-time Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti.
Award-winning actors John Cusack and Elizabeth Banks are also in the Bill Pohlad-directed film.
Love & Mercy is the second film Pohlad has directed. He has produced a number of award-winning films, including the 2013 Oscar-winner 12 Years a Slave, which Dano and Mr. Giamatti also had roles in.


Love & Mercy — named after a 1988 song by Mr. Wilson — premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where it received acclaimed reviews, including one by Cameron Bailey, who described the film as “an intimate rendering of Wilson’s mercurial genius” and “an empathetic portrayal of Wilson’s personal experience.”
“From the dark side of his creativity to the love that helped him heal,” Mr. Bailey wrote, “Love & Mercy gives us a rare understanding of the music and the mind of a [20th Century] icon.”
Furthermore, Bailey praised Dano’s performance — “Paul Dano gives a superb performance that conveys the artist’s prodigious gifts as well as his increasingly precarious mental state.”

Paul Dano

Dano graduated from Wilton High School in 2002. He was the guitarist and did lead vocals in the Wilton-based rock band Mook with fellow Wilton High alumni keyboardist Dan Kreiger, drummer Chris Johnson and bass player Rob Bruce.
Dano has been in more than 20 films and has won numerous awards, including the Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance and L.A. Outfest’s Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film for his role in L.I.E. (2001), the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actor for his role in Little Miss Sunshine (2006), and the Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in There Will Be Blood (2007).
Love & Mercy will be distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment and Roadside Attractions in early June.  Click here  to watch the film’s trailer.