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[Movies] Beach Boys Biopic The Drummer Has Been Delayed Indefinitely
Posted by Joseph Lee on 12.12.2013

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the biopic about Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson (who drowned thirty years ago this month), The Drummer, has been delayed indefinitely. Aaron Eckhart was set to play Wilson in a story of his final years, but pulled out before shooting would begin in June 2012 due to exhaustion from filming I, Frankenstein in Australia.

Brad Rosenberger, the film's music supervisor and publisher of Wilson's songs, said: "It was a huge blow for us when Eckhart pulled out."

He added that Eckhart spent six months learning to sing and play both the piano and drums. Vera Farmiga had been cast as Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie.

The trustee for Wilson's estate, which represents his children, has said the project is now on hold and may be over entirely.

Shelley Surpin said: "The Dennis Wilson Trust can confirm that there is no plan for proceeding with the Drummer project."

Wilson's son Carl and daughter Jennifer (from separate marriages) had signed on to co-produce in October 2011. It was the first time the family had sanctioned the film, which allowed director Randall Miller to secure the rights to use songs from Pacific Ocean Blue, Wilson's solo album. They did have concerns about Jody Savin's screenplay, which has also added to the delay.

Wilson's writing partner and producer Gregg Jakobson added: "The kids, they get bad counseling. It's the estate -- they don't know anything about the entertainment business. They hardly even really ever knew their dad.

Rosenberger spent 20 years at Warner-Chappell. He approached the family with the film in 2008 and the children are still interested. He said: "With everything in the right place, they would love to see a movie honoring their father. There are no plans to make this Dennis Wilson movie now, but I don't think it would be accurate to say we don't want a movie to be made."

Those involved with the film say the script does not exploit Wilson's alcohol and drug addiction. It also avoids his relationship with Charles Manson, which happened before the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders. It takes place in 1977 when Wilson recorded Pacific Ocean Blue and focuses on a musician whose life cost him his home, boat and several marriages. Wilson drowned in Marina del Rey, California on December 28, 1983 after drinking and diving. It was only weeks after his 39th birthday. Seven days later, President Reagan and the Coast Guard honored his family's request to bury him at sea.

Julie Sultan of W2 MEdia, the distribution company trying to find a buyer, said it no longer represents The Drummer. Unclaimed Freight Production instead moved its crew and resources to CBGB (released in the fall) and will begin work in January on Midnight Rider: The Gregg Allman Story (based on his memoir My Cross to Bear).

Meanwhile, Capitol Records released a Beach Boys set in August called Made in California, which featured bootlegged and previously unreleased songs. Archivist Alan Boyd said there are more in the vault, including an outtake from 1973's Holland called "Carry Me Home".

He said: "There's a handful of things, maybe half a dozen or so that actually have vocals on them."

A six-minute version of Wilson's unfinished song "Holy Man", featuring Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins and Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, which Jakobson produced, probably won't be heard due to the movie's unknown status.


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