Published Dec 03, 2014For years, Courtney Love has been talking about making a documentary about her late husband Kurt Cobain. This film finally came to light with the recent announcement of Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, but it turns out that Love was squeezed out of the project and ultimately had no editorial control.
Recent announcements about the film have noted that the Nirvana frontman's 22-year-old daughter Frances Bean Cobain is serving as an executive producer, making this the first properly authorized documentary about the late grunge star. The announcements didn't mention Love, however.
Interestingly, it was Love who first approached director Brett Morgen back in 2007, and she gave him access to materials from Cobain's life. But when Morgen started working with the daughter, they made a conscious decision to push Love out.
"At a certain point, I started working more closely with [Frances Bean]," Morgen told the Hollywood Reporter. "We agreed that because Courtney was a subject in the film, it would be best if she wasn't given editorial control."
Morgen added that Love "hasn't seen the movie. I'm not sure she's intending to."
Apparently Love isn't too upset about the whole situation. Last week, Frances Bean tweeted her excitement about the movie, and Love retweeted it.
The director previously described the film as a "third person autobiography," telling NME, "The thing about him people might not know too is that he was an incredible visual artist and left behind a treasure chest of comic books, paintings, Super-8 films, all sorts. We're hoping the Cobain film, that'll hopefully be released in 2014, will be this generation's The Wall — a mix of animation and live action that'll allow the audience to experience Kurt in a way they never have before. It's very ambitious."
Sources are suggesting that Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck may premiere at Sundance in January, with a wide release following later in 2015. It will arrive through HBO/Universal Pictures.
UPDATE: In efforts to explain Love's involvement a bit more clearly, Morgen has now issued the following statement:
Courtney Love first came to me with the idea for Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck in 2007. She was hoping to make a film that revealed a deeper understanding of Kurt than had been depicted in the media. While several parties control rights to Kurt's music, Courtney and her daughter, are the sole rights holders to Kurt's belongings, which are used quite readily throughout the film. In granting me access to his possessions, Courtney gave me permission to use the items in any manner I deemed appropriate for the film. She never asked for any editorial involvement. In today's age, and particularly when making a film on a public figure, it is virtually unheard of to grant this kind of access to a filmmaker. And for that I will always be grateful.
Any suggestion that Courtney was denied editorial involvement couldn't be further from the truth. It was her idea to let me have control. This film would not exist today without the support of Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain and Wendy O'Connor.
The trust that has been invested in me by Courtney, Frances, and Kurt's immediate family has been crucial in allowing me to paint a portrait of Kurt that is both honest, unflinching, empathetic, and effecting. I look forward to sharing this film with audiences around the world in 2015.