The Kurt Cobain Biopic That Shouldn’t Be


Brace yourselves: Decisions are finally being made about the Kurt Cobain biopic that has been in talks since 2007. The Hollywood Reporter announced yesterday that Oren Moverman (Oscar-nominated director of The Messenger) is set to write and direct the film based on Charles R. Cross’ 2002 biography Heavier Than Heaven. The pic will focus on Cobain’s life, music, and suicide, and we’ve heard rumors of everyone from James Franco to Ewan McGregor as possible stars.

Although we’re intrigued, we can’t say we’re exactly thrilled by the news. Let’s explore our trepidations after the jump.

1. Courtney Love is on board as executive producer — a role in which we’re not entirely sure she’s suitable. Between a healthy drug habit, custody battles over Frances Bean, eating disorders, criminal records, and flashing David Letterman, it’s obvious that the woman is an emotional mess. Plus, let’s not forget the lessons of Guitar Hero.

2. Cobain would have hated it. Never comfortable with the attention that was a part of being Generation X’s music icon, we can’t imagine Cobain would be too pleased with having his own feature film. In an interview, photographer Ian Tilton (who snapped this famous shot of Cobain in all his vulnerability) told OhMyNews that Cobain had “a shyness with people… [and he] didn’t enjoy the pop stardom.” Listen to him discuss his feelings about fame below.

3. We can’t think of one good person to play him. Hollywood heads, Courtney Love’s nudge for Ryan Gosling, and bloggers alike all seem to have conflicting takes (just check out these reader comments). Not to mention everyone seems to be in the running — even Cate Blanchett. Note: We do approve of Best Week Ever’s idea that Shelley Duvall in the The Shining is the perfect Dave Grohl. Inspired.

4. Gus Van Sant has already done it. His 2005 rock and roll film, Last Days, was inspired by Nirvana and the life of Kurt Cobain. Michael Pitt starred as fictional Blake, the grungy, mumbling musician who deals with depression, and ultimately commits suicide. The film did not get rave reviews, which just goes to show, if the great Van Sant (of Milk, Elephant and Good Will Hunting, to name a few) can’t make Cobain’s story translate, it’s not worth a second go.

5. Contemporary music biopics rarely work. Let’s be honest, no matter how much you loved Jennifer Lopez pre-J.Lo, Selena is by no means a classic. Notorious failed miserably, and while it scored Blanchett an Oscar nom, the disjointed Bob Dylan film I’m Not There created more confusion than clarity. Maybe this could be the next Sid & Nancy — but there’s a greater chance that it will fall short.

What do you think about the Cobain flick? Good idea? Bad? Comment below.