Brent Wilson interview: ‘Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road’ filmmaker
“It was a real leap of faith” director Brent Wilson admits about directing his latest documentary feature “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road,” an intimate portrait of the life and career of enigmatic Beach Boys front-man Brian Wilson. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road” sheds new light on Wilson’s life and music. Part retrospective and part buddy road trip, the reclusive Wilson reminisces about his life under the filmmaker’s watchful eye, accompanied by Rolling Stone editor and longtime friend Jason Fine, as they traverse Wilson’s old haunts across Los Angeles. While “Long Promised Road” celebrates Wilson’s musical career, featuring interview excerpts with music industry luminaries like Linda Perry, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, it also candidly addresses the musician’s life-long struggles with mental illness.
The film also offers music lovers several of Wilson’s unreleased gems that have been rumored to exist for years but never heard, and features new song “Right Where I Belong,” a heartfelt throwback to the best of The Beach Boys, which was recently nominated by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) for Best Original Song in a Documentary.
“Long Promised Road” opens with a joyful celebration of The Beach Boys’ classic “Good Vibrations,” which immediately sets the tone for the film. Just as the song itself is a joyous and uplifting slice of Americana, it introduces the audience to the director’s passionate examination of the musician’s life and his impact on pop culture over the decades.
“I wanted to pull in the audience, from the very first frame, if I could,” Wilson (who is not related to the musician) reveals. “I think that track is Brian’s masterpiece and I think when you make a film like this, one of your goals is you want to attract fans or people who may know a little bit about Brian a little bit about The Beach Boys and maybe bring them into the story,” he says. “Hopefully you grab them and you pull them in and then if you’re lucky you never let them go.”
The film is often surprisingly intimate, candid and nostalgic, as Wilson (who often shies away from interviews) opens up about his personal life. The film is also at its most compelling when it offers the audience a front row seat to Wilson recording previously unreleased tracks. A highlight of “Long Promised Road” is when he is perched behind a piano to record “Honeycomb,” in which he demonstrates his instinctive knowledge of every note while conducting the band around him with uncanny precision. “One of the greatest days in my life was those particular moments right there when he’s recording ‘Honeycomb,'” director Wilson reveals. “I started to tear up,” he adds, admitting that “all of us in that room, I think, experienced something remarkable and it’s a gift I’ll carry with the rest of my life.”