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This story first appeared in the Dec. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When HBO and Universal Pictures bring the first authorized documentary about Kurt Cobain to the screen, don’t count on Courtney Love‘s creative involvement.
In fact, Cobain’s widow hasn’t been involved with director Brett Morgen‘s Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck for years, though it was she who first approached him in 2007 to make a doc about the late Nirvana frontman, who killed himself in 1994. Love, a fan of Morgen’s Robert Evans pic The Kid Stays in the Picture, had access to a rich archive, much of it never before seen.
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“She gave me the keys to this kingdom and final cut of the film,” Morgen (WME, Anonymous, Sloss Eckhouse) tells THR. But Morgen then began collaborating directly with Cobain and Love’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, who also inherited a huge trove of the musician’s material. The visual artist, 22, famously has battled with her mother at times, including securing a restraining order against Love in 2009. “At a certain point, I started working more closely with [Frances Bean],” says Morgen. “We [all] agreed that because Courtney was a subject in the film, it would be best if she wasn’t given editorial control.”
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Morgen also began clearing rights with Cobain’s mother, Wendy Cobain, as well as Geffen Records/Universal Music Group. But unlike the other rights holders, Frances Bean is an executive producer on the film. She seems pleased with Morgen’s project, which will feature dozens of Nirvana songs and performances as well as previously unheard Cobain originals. “I’m really excited for you guys to see Montage of Heck. @brettmorgen created an intense yet wonderful examination of Kurt’s life & art,” she tweeted Nov. 25.
As for Love, “She hasn’t seen the movie,” says Morgen of the film, which sources say will premiere in January at Sundance, followed by small- and big-screen releases in 2015. “I’m not sure she’s intending to.”
Still, Morgen expects her support. “Courtney brought me into the world, and the film would not exist if she hadn’t reached out to me,” he says.
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