Definitive Brian Wilson documentary in the works

More than 90 hours of new footage has been compiled

A definitive documentary on Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson is in the works. Variety confirms that the film is nearing completion and is expected to be shopped to distributors in January. Brent Wilson (no relation) has been at the helm of the project that’s been filming under-the-radar for the past three years.

The film will feature Wilson talking about his life in the studio and on the road. Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Nick Jonas, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Gustavo Dudamel, Jakob Dylan and Bob Gaudio are among the famous faces who have filmed interviews for the still untitled doc.

“Seventy-five percent of what is in the film is Brian,” Wilson estimates stating it won’t feature a lot of outsiders, “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.”

Wilson’s life has been chronicled before in the Love & Mercy biopic, the Don Was-directed I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times and several Beach Boys documentaries. However, the new director wanted something updated, even capturing more than 90 hours of fresh interviews.

“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,” Wilson states of the project. “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.”

Wilson is relatively uncomfortable in front of a camera, so much of the film involves archival interviews and segments filmed with Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine as the legendary singer/songwriter shares memories while visiting areas of Los Angeles that played a significant role in his life. Brent Wilson had planned to interview Brian, but realized he’s a tough interview due to his camera shy persona. Instead, he opted to use collect hundreds of past interviews with the car footage.

“We rented a car and we rigged it up, kind of Carpool Karaoke style, with 4K cameras and microphones in the car, so that they didn’t have to wear a lavalier mic and didn’t have operators in the car,” Director Wilson says. “Jason and Brian would just drive around for six, seven, eight hours a day, for weeks, trying to get Brian to open up and talk freely. And it worked brilliantly, because I’ve never seen Brian in any interview or any documentary where he’s been this honest — I mean, just brutally honest sometimes.”

The documentary also features Wilson performing cover songs in the studio.

Brian Wilson and wife Melinda are credited as producers of the film along with film financier Tim Headington, former music biz exec Theresa Steele, Wilson’s longtime manager Jean Sievers, and Fine. Brent Wilson plans to wrap the final edit in January and then begin shopping it to distributors.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.