AI Determines Cast + Plot for Kurt Cobain Biopic – See the Surprising Results
Although there have been several films made about (or inspired by) Kurt Cobain and Nirvana – such as Last Days, Cobain: Montage of Heck and Soaked in Bleach – there’s never been a proper biopic on the legendary musician. (Not even Brad Pitt could get one off the ground.) That prompted American Songwriter to ask ChatGPT to determine its own cast and narrative for such a project, and the results are more than a little surprising.
Apparently, Smells Like Teen Spirit: The Kurt Cobain Story – the most obvious yet fitting title anyone could’ve come up with – would dive into “the journey of a young man from a troubled childhood to becoming the frontman of the legendary grunge band, Nirvana.” Along the way, it’d showcase “an intimate and authentic portrayal of the enigmatic artist, celebrating his musical genius while shedding light on the human behind the legend. . . . serv[ing] as a tribute to Kurt Cobain’s life, music, and the enduring spirit of grunge that he helped shape.”
The movie's broken into three Acts and an epilogue, too.
In particular, the first part follows “a teenage Kurt Cobain” as he wrestles with “a dysfunctional family life and sense of alienation.” Naturally, he “finds solace in music,” forms his initial bands and eventually teams up with bassist Krist Novoselic. to start Nirvana.
Act 2 examines their breakthrough with 1991’s Nevermind; Cobain’s “struggles” with “celebrity,” “drug addiction” and “depression”; and his “relationship with Courtney Love” and “the birth of their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.”
Then, Act 3 looks at the “unprecedented heights” of Nirvana’s success alongside Cobain’s increasing “internal struggles” and critical stance on the media. It’d culminate in “the final days of [his] life,” including "his decision to leave Nirvana” and “the fateful event of [his] untimely death in April 1994.”
As for the epilogue, it “reflects on Kurt Cobain’s legacy” by “highlight[ing] his impact on the world of music and popular culture, shedding light on the issues of mental health, addiction, and the challenges of fame.” Of course, it’d also ponder “the enduring influence of Nirvana’s music.”
So far, so good, right?
Undoubtedly, the most intriguing (and divisive) part of the experiment is whom ChatGPT chose to play the various personalities in the story.
For instance, Saoirse Ronan’s “intensity and charisma” make her the ideal pick to personify Love; Bill Skarsgård’s “tall stature and acting skills” correspond to Novoselic; and Joe Keery captures Dave Grohl’s “charm and energy.” Likewise, Frances McDormand, Josh Brolin and Amy Adams, respectively, depict Cobain’s mother (Wendy O’Connor), father (Don) and aunt/legal guardian (Kim).
As for Cobain himself, none other than Timothée Chalamet would get the role due to “his versatility and ability to portray complex characters.” In other words, he could “bring the depth and sensitivity required to embody Kurt Cobain on screen.”
Those are certainly some bold and intriguing choices!
So, how do you feel about ChatGPT’s perspective on a prospective Kurt Cobain biopic? Would your cast and/or plot deviate at all? (Ours certainly did back in 2013.) Let us know!
In case you missed it, a study conducted earlier this summer found that Nirvana dominates cycling playlists. Also, Nirvana producer – and Garbage drummer – Butch Vig talks about Cobain in Jason Thomas Gordon’s upcoming book, The Singers Talk: The Greatest Singers of Our Time Discuss the One Thing They're Never Asked About: Their Voices.
It releases on Sept. 5 (via Permuted Press) and you can preorder it here.