Paul Dano, one half of ‘Love and Mercy’s’ Brian Wilson, is wholly OK with nomination

Actor Paul Dano portrays a young Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys biopic "Love and Mercy."

Actor Paul Dano portrays a young Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys biopic “Love and Mercy.”

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Actor Paul Dano was giving off “Good Vibrations” on Thursday morning after he was nominated for a Golden Globe. We called up the actor to see how he was feeling after being tapped for his role as “Beach Boys” singer Brian Wilson in the film “Love and Mercy.”

First of all: I love your girlfriend Zoe Kazan’s Twitter account and how much she talks about you on it.

I mean, honestly, I’m so jealous of all the love she gets on Twitter. She has super cool people reaching out to her.


Why don’t you join?

She’s so good at it. I could never be as good.

OK, so where are you?

I am in my home in Brooklyn. “Zoe in the cities” unfortunately is away right now. So I woke up this morning and saw some text messages on my phone. I got a phone call and collapsed back onto my bed and lay there and smiled for a bit.

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You didn’t listen to an upbeat Beach Boys song?


That’s so funny. I actually thought about that, because my reaction was like their songs – “Good Vibrations,” “Fun, Fun Fun” – all sorts of things. Brian wanted to make music that would make people heal and help them smile. And man, that music really does make people smile. Even something silly, like “Barbara Ann.” It was recorded as a goof, and it’s so fun and playful.

Do you have a favorite song of his?

“California Girls” just makes me smile. Just starting “Pet Sounds,” with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and that guitar melody.

Did you start hearing the songs differently after learning about Brian’s troubles?

That’s the beauty of the songs for me. Listening and working with that music for about eight months, I never got tired of it. There was always a new layer to discover by knowing something about his life, or hearing the instruments that are in there. That’s the miracle of music – it goes down so smooth, yet it’s incredibly complex.

You and John Cusack both play Brian Wilson in the film. Is it weird when you get nominated and he doesn’t?


Honestly, I feel like we love Brian so much –if one of us doesn’t get recognition, to let that be too much of a bad thing wouldn’t be fair to the work we got to do and the experience we had. Naturally, I’d love to see everybody from the film get recognized. But I think it’s only a good thing if anybody does.

Do you keep in touch with Brian?

I keep in touch with [his wife] Melinda, and I see Brian occasionally. He’s such a sweet, sweet man. We got to do some things together this fall with mental health awareness. I got to go and sing with him and hang out. I’m super happy that he’s in my life.

Now that you’ve been singing so much, is a Grammy next?

I have to tell you, doing all this singing – I worked for about six months with a voice coach to stretch my range out. And I felt like a kid. Singing reminded me of being a kid in the back of a car, or running around the house. I’d love to do more, be it on a stage or in a movie.

Are you looking forward to the actual award show?


I’m so excited to go to the Golden Globes. It’s one of those things where I’d like to act like I’m a cool cat, like I’m totally unaffected by it. But there’s a monster red carpet, and it’s great. Once you’re in there, you get to hang out with friends. I went once when “Little Miss Sunshine” was nominated.

Is there anyone you’d want to approach to say you were a fan?

I would love to meet Tom Hanks. I’ve never met him, and I’ve always been truly inspired by his work. Same with Mark Rylance. I thought both of their work in “Bridge of Spies” was amazing. And Charlotte Rampling. She’s an amazing actress, and I’ve never met her. I’ll be happy if I get to say hi to some folks.

So Zoe is out of town, but will you do anything to celebrate later?

I’m going to lounge around in my sweatpants and have coffee. Maybe I’ll go out for a drink tonight. I like to go out to watch basketball at a bar on Thursdays, anyway.

Who’s your team?


The Knicks. This year is actually really exciting. We might be fighting for a playoff spot.

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