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The Beach Boys founder's musical success and personal struggles are highlighted in the newly released promo

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated April 15, 2015 08:40 AM
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In the first full-length trailer for the upcoming Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, released Tuesday, the lead singer and co-founder of The Beach Boys goes head-to-head with his controversial psychiatrist as he struggles with deteriorating mental health.

The film, which interweaves the prime of Wilson’s career in the 1960s with the aftereffects of well-known his drug use and mental illness in the 1980s, stars Paul Dano as the singer in his youth, and John Cusack as him in later years.

Love & Mercy, directed by Bill Pohlad, starts when young Wilson begins to experiment in the recording studio, making what eventually became The Beach Boys’ critically acclaimed album Pet Sounds.

As he tinkers with various instruments, and even corrals some dogs into the studio, Dano as Wilson asks, “You hear the new Beatles? We can’t let them get ahead of us! Got all kinds of new ideas, new sounds, new instruments … do you think we could get a horse in here?”

In the later years, Wilson’s relationship with his girlfriend, and eventual wife, Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) is perceived as a threat by his psychiatrist, Dr. Eugene Landy, played by Paul Giamatti. Landy exploited the singer, attempting to end his relationship with Ledbetter and controlling everyday aspects of his personal life.

In the trailer, Landy tells Ledbetter, “Brian is a very, very sick man,” to which she later insists that he’s overmedicating the songwriter.

Wilson, now 72, founded The Beach Boys in 1961 with his brothers Dennis and Carl Wilson, as well as his cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. The group is known for hit songs like “Good Vibrations,” and “I Get Around,” all recorded prior to Wilson’s nervous breakdown and departure from the band.

Love & Mercy hits theaters on June 5.