Universal Pictures will finally move forward with their long-in-the-works Kurt Cobain biopic, which is partly based on the book Heavier than Heaven by veteran music journalist Charles R. Cross. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio is in negotiations with Oren Moverman — the Oscar-nominated director of The Messenger — to direct and work on the project’s screenplay, replacing original screenwriter David Benioff, whose previous credits include X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Kite Runner.
Cross, whose book was published in 2001 and who is involved with the movie project as a “factual consultant,” is optimistic about Moverman’s attachment. “It’s not like he wrote The Hangover,” he tells Rolling Stone. “He’s worked on some serious projects, like the Dylan biopic I’m Not There, so that’s probably a good thing when it comes to doing a movie on Cobain’s life.” Cross also thinks that Hollywood executives will take the project seriously, citing Ray as an example of what he envisions the movie to be: “A lot of people working now in Hollywood, for them, Cobain was an icon,” says Cross. “So there’s a genuine investment in seeing the movie done well.”
Though Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl have argued over the band’s publishing rights with Cobain’s widow Courtney Love, Cross says that Universal has secured necessary rights to use Nirvana material in the movie. “Everything I know is that the people at Universal have everything tied up, so whoever gets cast as Cobain will be able to sing these songs in the movie.” No Nirvana songs appeared in About a Son, a film that retold the rocker’s story in his own words.
News of the biopic’s progress comes just days before what would have been Cobain’s 43rd birthday (he was born February 20, 1967). Look back at our Kurt Cobain Remembered archive to read our essay on Nevermind 10 years later and Kurt’s last days, explore Cobain’s private artifacts and more Nirvana photos.