Frances Bean Cobain executive produced HBO’s upcoming documentary about her father, Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck, but her mother Courtney Love’s name wasn’t listed among the film’s contributors when it was announced last week. That was curious because Love is the one who initially asked director Brett Morgen to take on the project in 2007. The Hollywood Reporter explains:
“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 agreed that because Courtney was a subject in the film, it would be best if she wasn’t given editorial control.”
Morgen goes on to say that Love hasn’t even seen the film, so: This movie could be very interesting! Montage Of Heck is expected to premiere at Sundance this January, followed by small- and big-screen releases later in the year.
UPDATE: Although Morgen never stated that Love was squeezed out of overseeing his movie, many media outlets interpreted his comments that way — including the original source, The Hollywood Reporter, whose headline indicated that Love was “muscled out.” As we previously noted in the comments section, since THR’s story went live, Morgen has been making a concerted effort to clarify that Love voluntarily gave up creative control of Montage Of Heck. He tweeted as much, and he issued a lengthier statement to Rolling Stone:
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.