Universal Pictures has hired scribe David Benioff (The 25th Hour) to write their planned Kurt Cobain biopic based on 'Heavier Than Heaven' by writer Charles Cross- which remains controversial among Nirvana fans for Cross's decision to include his own impression of Cobain's final days. The film will be a co-production between Working Title and Reveille Motion Pictures. Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, will exec produce with her lawyer, Howard Weitzman. This is now the second project within a couple fo months that Love has greenlit.
The studio has not yet revealed whether they've locked the music rights to Nirvana's catalogue- or how they're going to approach the story. This is bound to be a controversial production. Many Nirvana fans despise Courtney Love, and rail against the commercialization of Cobain's music.
That said, I'm amazed it has taken so long to get a Cobain biopic off the ground. Gus Van Sant did a thinly veiled account of Cobain's suicide- Last Days, but as he did not have the rights to either Cobain's story or music, the film is far from definitive.
If Universal is not able to acquire the rights to Cobain's catalogue- they should drop the project like a hot potato- although with their deep studio pockets this is a pretty unlikely scenario.
David Benioff is quite the in-demand writer these days. He recently adapted The Kite Runner for director Marc Foster (who he worked with on the abysmal Stay), and also wrote the upcoming Wolverine spin off for director Gavin Hood. Anyone who's read Benioff's The 25th Hour, or seen the brilliant film by Spike Lee should know that Benioff is a solid choice to write this script.
Much is riding on who else is hired for the film. It needs a director that understands Cobain, and an actor that can embody him. This is the type of film that can either be brilliant (like Anton Corbijn's Control- about Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, who's story is eerily similar to Cobain's) or a disaster (Kevin Spacey's Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea).