Aaron Eckhart is one of those actors who should be huge. His looks scream “All American”, he seems like a pretty decent guy, and (perhaps most importantly) he can really act. His turn in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING showed a lot of charisma and some decent comedy chops, he showed a knack for villainy in Neil LaBute’s IN THE COMPANY OF MEN and his subtlety was a nice counterpoint to Christian Bale’s silly voice in THE DARK KNIGHT. Now, rumours suggest that he may be playing Dennis Wilson, arguably the second most troubled Beach Boy, in upcoming biopic THE DRUMMER.
It’s almost amazing the Beach Boys have never received the big budget biopic treatment before, though they have been the subject of TV movie AN AMERICAN FAMILY. That story took on the Beach Boys as a whole unit, but Dennis Wilson’s story alone contains an abundance of drama. The drummer of the band (hence the title), Dennis was very much the party animal of the group, with a real penchant for booze. Despite his troubles, he was both an integral part of the Beach Boys sound and an exceptional solo artist in his own right. His lone solo release, Pacific Ocean Blue, came out to enormous acclaim while the Beach Boys ran on fumes. On top of this, he had a brief friendship with Charles Manson (pre-infamy), and died tragically young by drowning.
Whenever a biopic is announced, a common theme of discussion is whether the actor bears a physical resemblance to the subject, and in this case it must be said that Eckhart does not. To me, though, this is far from important. Anthony Hopkins looks nothing like Richard Nixon and still turned in a terrific performance; Joe Pesci’s character in GOODFELLAS was really well over six foot tall. The film will be directed by indie stalwart Randy Miller, who will hopefully be able to harness his star’s often-underutilised talents.