Captain Grunge Flies Again!
April 14, 2005 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Captain Grunge Flies Again!
The first trailer for Gus Van Sant’s “Last Days” has just been posted (with sub-titles). “Last Days” is inspired by the tortured final days in the life of Kurt Cobain. Of the film, Van Sant says, “There are a lot of hypotheses about what happened, but I don't know of any full eyewitness account, just tiny momentary ones. Everyone has a different opinion, but there's not one true, authoritative account. He was just kind of missing." Much like the Cobain biography “Heavier than Heaven,” the film takes the stance that Kurt, who has grown increasingly uncomfortable with his fame, is resigned to his death, not accelerated into it by a chain of events concluding with his suicide. Leonardo look-alike Michael Pitt (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) plays the lead role, with Asia Argento playing the Courtney Love-like character. And here’s a good article about the film.
posted by mannythedog (20 comments total)
emphasis on inspired

Like "Elephant," which improvised a story out of the Columbine high school tragedy, "Last Days" will have a semi-documentary visual style and won't really offer any conclusions as to why Cobain -- or in this case, a Cobain-like character -- killed himself, although there will be plenty of hints and suggestions in this fictionalized setting.

Still interesting though. Also, I don't really know what "resigned to his death" means exactly, I haven't read the biography. Can anyone clue me in?
posted by puke & cry at 2:05 PM on April 14, 2005

does Van Sant have the rights to Nirvana's music? because if he doesn't, the whole idea sounds pretty lame. and this from an unabashed Van Sant fan ("Gerry", too)
posted by matteo at 2:10 PM on April 14, 2005

Interesting fact on making this movie. One one my friends was in a small local band that got a decent amount of buzz and started touring. They played one show with the liars and before the show the venue owner came up to them and said there would be a performer before them.

Before the show Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) came in with Michael Pitt, and Pitt played a terrible set of grunge. He threw himself all around the stage and mostly made noise. In talking to Moore; however, my friend found out that Pitt was just rehearsing for this movie, and moore—a friend of Kobain—was helping him.
posted by afrooz at 2:29 PM on April 14, 2005

one question: why didnt they get a good director to take this on?
posted by tsarfan at 2:31 PM on April 14, 2005

puke & cry- The biography alludes to the fact that in Kurt's case "resigned to his death" means that he was a miserable f*ckin bastard who knew that his fate was to die young. He was in pain his entire life and didn't want help for his drug addiction or for anything else and simply didn't enjoy being alive.

matteo - Technically the movie is fiction so he might not have gotten rights to the music (that would be expensive!).
posted by mannythedog at 2:35 PM on April 14, 2005

tsarfan: Who are "they"?
posted by Doug at 2:38 PM on April 14, 2005

tsarfan: It is my understandting the Van Sant wanted to make this movie and was pretty much the sole person responsible for getting it done.
posted by pwb503 at 3:00 PM on April 14, 2005

Leonardo look-alike Michael Pitt (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) plays the lead role,

I keep thinking "The Dreamers" had DiCaprio in it.

So I guess the film is not going with the murder conspiracy angle. Anyway I really liked both "Elephant" and "Gerry", but from the trailer it looks like van Sant is still directing like he's Ming-liang Tsai. I'll have to bring along a coffee.
posted by bobo123 at 3:07 PM on April 14, 2005

(that would be expensive!).

yes but the Cobain story without Cobain's music is just another rock/drugs movie.
Cobain without his music is nothing
posted by matteo at 3:21 PM on April 14, 2005

Who are "they"?

you know, the studio, the producers, the investors, the actors, the audience, the clerks at blockbuster, the vrwc

should i go on?
posted by tsarfan at 3:39 PM on April 14, 2005

If your point was just to be snarky, I believe you've made it and even thrown in a little extra.
posted by digaman at 4:52 PM on April 14, 2005

Eh, I always thought that Ewan McGregor would be the perfect Cobain. Watch him in the Velvet Goldmine and you'll see what I'm talking about. The spitting image.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 5:01 PM on April 14, 2005

I'm a sucker for anything Cobain (crap or not). I can't help but feel, though, that labelling Cobain's story as inspiration is just a cheap way of trying to imitate his life (and/or events up to his passing) via art. As others have said it will be difficult to get away with blurring the line between originality and just another film about some messed up talented person who just happened to have a drug problem. I know of plenty more interesting stories than this anyway. And that's not taking anything away from the greatness that was experiencing and loving Kurt Cobain as Nirvana's front man. This is so weird because Kurt was in a dream I had last night. I wake and see this post in my feed. Whoa.
posted by sjvilla79 at 5:33 PM on April 14, 2005

Even I don't think Tommy Gnosis should play Kurt Cobain.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 7:13 PM on April 14, 2005

I'm just wondering how Van Sant will cram a gratuitous homoerotic subtext into Cobain's life. Or maybe he knows something about the rocker the rest of us don't.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:05 AM on April 15, 2005

From working with Matt Dillon ("Drugstore Cowboy", "To Die For"), who played a member of a Seattle grunge band, Citizen Dick in "Singles", to working with real-life/fame comes too easy/early flameout River Phoenix ("Private Idaho"), I'll bet you that van Sant thinks he has a unique perspective on Cobain's life. Whether or not he does, remains to be seen, but probably not by me. As much as I loved Kurt's music and his voice, I have studiously tried to avoid the death cult launched after his death.

For my own part, I liked van Sant's earlier stuff, but "Elephant" looked like an extended Abercrombie and Fitch commercial to me. However it was "inspired by actual events" and tried so hard to be cinema verité, it still ended up looking as plastic as anything coming out of Hollywood.
posted by psmealey at 3:40 AM on April 15, 2005

Asia is *perfect* for Courtney.
posted by ibeji at 6:55 AM on April 15, 2005

Asia Argento is hotter than Courtney Love ever has been or ever will be. Methinks someone had a hand in the casting choice there....
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 8:21 AM on April 15, 2005

I will always think of Michael Pitt as Henry, the freshman football player who dated Jen on Dawson's Creek.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:38 AM on April 15, 2005

Actors who re-create real people should always be far, far uglier. Ugly people have more expressiveness, granted that their ugliness is not compounded by congenital disability. Ugly people make the people they're based on look good.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 11:56 AM on April 20, 2005

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