John Cusack Takes on Beach Boys Legend in 'Love and Mercy'

Cusack plays Brian Wilson at a time when the singer was struggling with drug addiction and mental illness.
4:22 | 06/04/15

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Transcript for John Cusack Takes on Beach Boys Legend in 'Love and Mercy'
? wouldn't it be nice ? We're here with John Cusack who stars as Brian Wilson in "Love and mercy," an uncanny performance. Even Wilson's wife says he morphs into Brian. Take a look. Get up, I want you in the house. What? Are you ready come on. Are you serious. Let's do it. Make out like teenagers. In or out? Come on. In. One, two, three. And John Cusack joins us now. Congratulations. Well, thank you. It really is a revelation because I think we all know Brian Wilson's music, not many of us know about the man, the challenges he faced and what a musical genius he was and kind of a portrait of a genius, as well. Yeah, and Paul Dano plays, you know him as the younger man, wonderful in the film. I think it's hard to really underestimate or it's hard to overestimate the impact that he had sort of on music and culture in America for the 50 years after the creative explosion of the beach boys and "Pet sounds" and the smile sessions because if you think of -- he was blowing the beatles' mind. He would then hear that and go in a whole different journey and write "God only knows" in 20 minutes and then they would hear that across the atlantic but when you think about the beatles and the effect they had on culture and you think that, okay, there was George martin, one of the greatest producers in the world and you had these two songwriters, Lennon and Mccartney, they were kind of good and George Harrison and Ringo Starr with one ear who had such a spark of genius in him that guy with that one ear was the guy that was inspiring the beatles. All that work in the movie. You got to spend some time with Brian one-on-one. You said you were afraid you were becoming the guest that wouldn't leave. Well, yeah, that's true. What struck you most about him? Well, I mean I think that he's a kind of a person that has an antenna that's so intense that he thinks and he's a very sharp guy and he's kind of a prankster but as he's talking to you he's listening to what you're saying but he's sort of -- he's checking out the vibe on you and feeling your attention so I think he's more of an intuitive feeling person than an analytical one. What do you think he thought of you. I think he was checking me out and I think he was trying to figure out what my intention but I think he was -- he sort of looks at you and talking to you and sort of likes at you and above your head, I think he's looking at auras or something and then he just basically goes, oh, well, I think you might be okay. You seem like you're tender and you have a good heart and, you know, but he's feeling you out. You can see in the movie how he feels his way into a song remarkable scene you have with Elizabeth banks who became his wife, he meets her and plays a song he wrote simply from meeting her. Which I think is "Love and mercy." It's beautiful. Yeah, it's beautiful. He's quite an extraordinary guy and the other thing that I was struck go when I went to meet him for the first time because I was so nervous because I thought -- You were nervous. I'm nervous because if you're playing someone and their legacy is -- Easier to play Nixon. Easier to play Nixon, right. You know. But so I didn't want to disappoint him and, you know, he's still writing his life. He's still doing it all. But what I was struck is all of the things he had been Lew and his sort of descent into the abyss and he had one of the famous sort of rock 'N' roll burnouts but we don't know where the facts ended and legend began so there wasn't as much footage and there wasn't as much known about that period of his life so I had to ask him, you know, what really happened and what went down. He wanted to tell us but what I was struck was when I went into husband house dogs running around and with Melinda. It was a happy household. I thought, my god, this guy made it through. No way he could be disappointed in your performance. Congratulations. "Love and mercy" will be in

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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