Diablo Cody? You might want to sit down, we’ve got some bad news. Only at the start of the week, the “Juno” Oscar-winner told a panel at the L.A. Film Festival that her dream project was to write a biopic of legendary, troubled Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson. Unfortunately for Cody, it seems that the project is moving forward, but she’s nowhere to be seen, with another Oscar-nominee getting the scripting job instead.
River Road Entertainment, who’ve been behind films like “Into The Wild,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Tree of Life,” have announced that they have acquired the rights to Wilson’s life, and have set Oren Moverman, the writer-director of “The Messenger,” for which he was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, alongside co-writer Alessandro Camon, to write the script.
Wilson undoubtedly has a life full of material to be mined for the big-screen: he gained international fame as the musical genius behind The Beach Boys, and became one of the few producers who could legitimately be described as a genius. However, while trying to record the hugely ambitious record “Smile,” Wilson fell victim to drug addiction and mental illness, virtually disappearing for decades, before mounting an impressive comeback in the middle of the last decade with a finally-completed version of “Smile.”
Moverman, whose second feature as director, the cop drama “Rampart,” is currently being wrapped up, seems like a perfect fit: not only has he been behind uncompromising dramas, including underrated addiction drama “Jesus’s Son,” but he’s also had experience in the rock biopic genre, as co-writer of Todd Haynes‘ Bob Dylan film “I’m Not There,” while he’s most recently been writing a Kurt Cobain film for Universal and Working Title.
So far, the talent involved is very strong (veteran writer/producer John Wells is also on board), so we’re expecting this to be a cut above most similar films, and certainly likely to stay away from the “Ray” template that recent examples have followed. There’s no word if Moverman might direct as well — he’s expected to helm the Cobain picture next, if that goes forward — but this is looking good so far.