Since Kurt Cobain committed suicide on April 5, 1994, Hollywood studios have released rock biopics based on the lives of Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Ian Curtis, Notorious B.I.G. and Bobby Darin -- and yet not Cobain. Save for "Last Days," Gus Van Sant's 2005 film about a singer not unlike Cobain (played by former "Boardwalk Empire" star Michael Pitt), the Nirvana frontman has been kept off the big screen. With '90s nostalgia in bloom, however, thanks to multiple boy band reunions and addictive reminders of the decade from websites like BuzzFeed, is the time right for Kurt Cobain: The Movie?
Kurt Cobain would have turned 46 on Feb. 20, 2012; he was 27 when he shot himself in his Seattle home. That means a Kurt Cobain movie could provide Hollywood's budding leading men with the type of opportunity usually only reserved for superhero films and sci-fi blockbusters: The chance at playing the role of a lifetime.
In the past, actors like Ryan Gosling, Robert Pattinson, Ewan McGregor and Jared Leto have been mentioned as possible onscreen incarnations of Cobain; Courtney Love, the singer's former girlfriend, who had a child with Cobain, reportedly wanted Gosling for the role. The charismatic star is now 32, however, and with no Kurt Cobain movie on the horizon in the near future, he'll be aged out of consideration by the time the project actually moves forward.
Moving forward, incidentally, has been the problem with the Kurt Cobain movie. The idea of biopic about the Nirvana singer has been floated around since 2007. At one point, Oren Moverman was attached to write and direct, but the script he turned in was apparently too offbeat for his bosses at Universal to accept.
"They told me, ‘We cannot support [your] wildly independent and unconventional approach to this movie,’" Moverman, who directed the 2009 drama "The Messenger," said to The Playlist in 2011. According to the director, the script (titled "This Is Gonna Suck") would have tracked the last seven years of Cobain's life, but did not include his suicide. "This is a guy who thought he sucked, but occasionally thought he was brilliant too," Moverman said of the screenplay. "The film would have been fragmented, but also examined what made him tick." Love was apparently a big fan of Moverman's work.
As for casting, the writer-director had considered Ben Foster, who starred in "The Messenger," for Cobain. "Ben was definitely on my mind for the part. He’s the actor of his generation," he said.
For her part, Love has apparently shifted away from the idea of making a Kurt Cobain feature film, instead commissioning a documentary. Brett Morgen, famous for "The Kid Stays in the Picture," was hired to make a Cobain movie back in November of last year, with Love's blessing.
"Courtney is the one that brought me into this,” Morgen told the New York Post last year. "We’ve been trying to find the right time to put this film together and the time is now... We are going to do the movie sort of like a third-person autobiography — [as] if Kurt was around and making a film about his life."
With the documentary now the focus of Love's efforts, however, the biopic might be even further out. Which doesn't mean it won't happen. With the right cast and marketing, rock star biopics have been proven winners at the box office: both "Ray" and "Walk the Line" -- about, respectively, Charles and Cash -- earned over $120 million worldwide and received multiple Oscar nominations and awards. Based on that track record alone, it's hard to imagine Cobain's story won't be fodder for the big screen -- it just might remain in utero for a little longer than fans would like.
Ryan Gosling (32)
Courtney Love's choice is probably too old to play Cobain, who died when he was 27.
Ezra Miller (20)
Kurt Cobain by way of Jim Morrison.
Aaron Tveit (29)
Perpetually on the cusp, Tveit -- with his background in Broadway musicals like "Next to Normal" and "Catch Me If You Can" -- would be the one Cobain choice who could do his own singing.
Aaron Taylor Johnson (22)
Aaron Taylor Johnson played a young John Lennon in "Nowhere Boy"; would it be so crazy to watch him tackle another music icon gone too soon?
Robert Pattinson (26)
"Isn't that so stupid, who would cast him?" Courtney Love said about Pattinson playing Cobain. "That's just wrong. No offense." So that's a no?
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