Kurt Cobain Doc Director Clarifies Courtney Love's Involvement

"Any suggestion that Courtney was denied editorial involvement couldn’t be further from the truth," says director Brett Morgen

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Courtney Love
Nirvana's Kurt Cobain with wife Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean Cobain in Universal City, California in 1993. Terry McGinnis/WireImage/Getty

An earlier version of this story cited an erroneous report concerning Courtney Love's involvement in the planned Kurt Cobain documentary. Rolling Stone has reflected new information in the story below.  

A report in the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday claiming that Courtney Love had been denied editorial control on the upcoming Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck has been refuted by the film's director Brett Morgen.

"She never asked for any editorial involvement," Morgen tells Rolling Stone. "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."

Love approached Morgen with the original documentary idea in 2007 after being impressed by his work on the 2002 Robert Evans biopic The Kid Stays in the Picture. She subsequently gave the director access to her enormous personal archives.

"She was hoping to make a film that revealed a deeper understanding of Kurt than had been depicted in the media," Morgen says. "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." Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of Love and Cobain, is an executive producer on the project. 

The film is expected to premiere in January at the Sundance festival and will air on HBO in 2015, with an international release planned for later in the year.

In a press release, Montage of Heck is described as "a raw and visceral journey through Cobain's life" that provides "no-holds-barred access to Kurt Cobain’s archives, home to his never-before-seen home movies, recordings, artwork, photography, journals, demos, personal archives, family archives and songbooks." The documentary will include dozens of Nirvana tracks and live performances, along with previously unheard Cobain original songs. 

"I started work on this project eight years ago," Morgen said in a statement. "Like most people, when I started, I figured there would be limited amounts of fresh material to unearth. However, once I stepped into Kurt’s archive, I discovered over 200 hours of unreleased music and audio, a vast array of art projects (oil paintings, sculptures), countless hours of never-before-seen home movies, and over 4,000 pages of writings that together help paint an intimate portrait of an artist who rarely revealed himself to the media."

"This film would not exist today without the support of Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain and [Cobain's mother] Wendy O’Connor," Morgen tells Rolling Stone. "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."

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