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Apr. 11 2010 - 9:12 am | 6,297 views | 0 recommendations | 22 comments

Robert Pattinson As Kurt Cobain and Six Other Musical Biopics I’d Pay Money to See

Pattinson at the Twilight premiere in Los Angeles

Image via Wikipedia

Like Marlon Brando, James Dean, Luke Perry and James Franco at various stages of their careers, Robert Pattinson has the wounded, sensitive rock-god thing down. And unlike his Twilight costar Taylor Lautner, who appears to be intent on becoming the next big action hero, Pattinson seems to want to take his career in a quirkier, more interesting and character-driven direction.

And what character is quirkier and more interesting than Kurt Cobain? Reportedly, Pattinson is a top pick to portray the Nirvana rocker, who committed suicide in 1994, in an upcoming biopic of his life. If he does get the gig, it will certainly be more challenging and potentially more rewarding come Oscar season than playing a vampire.

But here’s the big question: Who gets to play Courtney Love?

While we’re waiting to see who ultimately gets cast, here are five other musical biopics that need to be made and the actors who should star in them.

Reese Witherspoon as Tammy Wynette Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline both got the big-screen treatment, but the cinematic potential of Wynette’s real-life melodrama might be as great as Sweet Dreams and Coal Miner’s Daughter combined: multiple husbands, marriage to an alcohol fellow country music superstar (George Jones), a savage beating and kidnapping that some accused her of staging for publicity, multiple illnesses, and finally, sadly, death at age 55.

There was a TV movie in 1981 called Stand by Your Man, but that doesn’t count any more than Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story, starring Sherilyn Fenn in the title role, counts as the definitive biopic on Liz, whose off-screen life, come to think of it, bears some striking similarities to Wynette’s.

Witherspoon already won an Oscar for playing June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, and she’s publicly expressed interest in bringing Wynette’s story to the screen. If the movie ever gets made, and if Witherspoon is cast, Oscar No. 2 is as good as hers.

Eddie Murphy as James Brown As he proved in Dreamgirls, Murphy’s got the voice and the moves to play an arrogant self-obsessed soul man less-than-loosely based on the Godfather of Soul. Alan Arkin ended up snatching the Oscar out from under Murphy’s nose in one of the more unfortunate upsets in recent memory. This time, I suspect, there’d be no stopping Murphy.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Sinatra Why wasn’t this film made a long time ago? The dramatic possibilities are endless. Singer-turned-movie-star-turned-pop-icon with suspected mob ties and some of the flashiest friends in show business. It would be the most star-studded biopic since The Aviator, which starred DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.

I don’t know if Leo can croon with even a fraction of Sinatra’s skill, but Angela Bassett and Marion Cotillard, as Tina Turner and Edith Piaf, respectively, nailed their subjects without singing a note.

Kerry Washington as Aretha Franklin Now here’s a major star that we know almost nothing about other than that her road to becoming the Queen of Soul was rocky indeed, with professional obstacles, private travails, two teenage pregnancies, the deaths of three sisters and the 1979 shooting and eventual death of her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin.

Franklin once said that she’d like Toni Braxton to play in her a movie about her life, and 10 years ago, when Braxton was in her early 30s, that wouldn’t have been a bad choice. But Kerry Washington is a talented actress in desperate need of one breakthrough role. And this is an instance where they wouldn’t need to cast a big-name star. Franklin’s music alone would be enough incentive to get people to see the movie.

Anne Hathaway as Liza Minnelli She can sing. She can dance. She can act. I’m talking about both Hathaway and Minnelli. The story of Liza’s mom has already been perfectly told in a telefilm (2001’s Life With Judy Garland: Me and my Shadows, with Judy Davis as Garland), and in many ways, Liza’s life has mirrored her moms: movies, music, drugs, alcohol, two Oscar nominations, marriages to gay men. But in Liza’s case, there’s no tragic ending, which, as proven by Coal Miner’s Daughter and What’s Love Got to Do With?, is not an essential ingredient for a highly watchable musical biopic.

Madonna as Madonna Her private life has been a bit too public to make for revealing onscreen drama, so maybe it’s time for a proper sequel to her popular 1991 documentary Truth or Dare. Madonna has released several tour packages since then, so this time I think she should document her offstage life, from her relationship with the Brazilian model who’s young enough to be her son to her current attempt to build a girls’ school in Africa, Oprah-style, to her ongoing crusade to mould daughter Lourdes in her own superstar image.

Hell, and if they must make that Madonna movie, in 10 years, Lourdes will be old enough to play her mom.


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  1. collapse expand

    I love Pattinson (although I cannot bear the thought of actually sitting through a Twilight movie.) And I do agree that he has a certain aura about him that would fit with Cobain’s character.

    I don’t think, however, that the physical resemblance is that great. Pattinson has larger facial features and seems, just, bigger. He has wide set, large, dark eyes and a large jaw. Cobain had small, narrow set blue eyes and thin lips. I am not saying Cobain wasn’t good looking. He had a certain fineness and intensity to his features, but the two guys look nothing alike.

    • collapse expand

      If I were a casting director, Pattinson might never have even crossed my mind to play Cobain. But sometimes physical resemblance doesn’t matter if the actor can capture the aura. Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella, who both were Oscar-nominated for portraying Richard Nixon, come to mind. Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, too. And so, for that matter, does Reese Witherspoon, who actually didn’t even capture June Carter Cash’s homespun aura. Anyone who knows country music, knows that Reese created a character who was not June Carter. I’ve always thought her performance was as acclaimed as it was because most people didn’t knwo anything about June Carter and because Reese did such a nice job on the musical numbers.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    With all due respect for Anne Hathaway, the only actor who could do Liza Minnelli justice would be Tracy Morgan.

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    Robert Pattinson has blue eyes as well Rini…in Twilight he wears contact lenses, either black or golden brown…he is also an accomplished musician & singer,he could play Cobain. I’ll by a movie ticket. I would buy a ticket to see him just open an envelope to tell you the truth…

  4. collapse expand

    OMG! Tracy Morgan as Liza Minelli? That’s pretty funny!!! I’m sure he would do a fabulous job, he’s very talented! HAAAaaaaa!

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    rob? kill yourself. you too, casting director. you should never have casted robert as kurt cobain. nirvana fans hate you.

  6. collapse expand

    Wow, easy Anastasia! Robert Pattinson has not been chosen as of yet to be Cobain nor did he accept or been approached! But it would be a dream come true for a casting director to sign Pattinson! He is by far the biggest star on the planet! Why would Nirvana fans hate anyone??? Maybe Tracy Morgan should play him to! LOL

  7. collapse expand

    How could this ever be? Robert Pattinson is a terrible and actor plays such pansy roles such as Edward Cullen. Who would even think “Oh Robert Pattinson would make a good Kurt Cobain.” Kurt Cobain was a glorious, bad-ass rock god. These two do not match up at all.

    • collapse expand

      Hmm… I’m still on the fence re Pattinson. As for Cobain, he was a major talent, and Nirvana was a great band, but I’m not so sure that “bad-ass rock god” would really apply to him. He was no Jim Morrison or Mick Jagger or Robert Plant. In fact, he was the antithesis of that whole rock-posturing thing (I think he had more in common with the Michael Stipes and Morrisseys of the rock world), which is part of what made him so special.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    It won’t happen and it ain’t up to Courtney to pick the actor but it won’t be that albino. Can’t you get better sources than hulu news? We aren’t all 13 year olds.

  9. collapse expand

    It’s so hard to please everyone! Wow, now you all made me think about Pattinson playing Cobain…anybody seen Little Ashes? The guy is brilliant! Pattinson is a good musician as well.He’s kind of dark… He sang a songthat he wrote while sitting with Bella in the restaurant, then wrote & performed the piano scene in Twilight, beautiful! I learned, we can’t please everyone…so if he’s offered & accept the part, hey, it will be fabulous! If not, no harm done! That’s challenging right there! I smell an Oscar if he does take the role! I see talent where some of you don’t!?

  10. collapse expand

    I’m on your side Jeremy; I’m not 13 years old! I try to refrain saying hurtful comments…but yes, I can do that as well, …anyhow, gosh! Kurt Cobain brings a lot of passion from fans! I am not a die-hard fan of Nirvana, I like some of the songs but it has been a little too dark for me. After all, Kurt Cobain was doing so many drugs & kills himself! How positive is that? Maybe Robert Pattinson should stay away from a role like that if offered? On the other end, it will show his artistic talent..Oscar???

    • collapse expand

      Thank you. I am always surprised when people use these forums to make disparaging comments. Just because Pattinson made his fame in the Twilight movies doesn’t mean he is not a good actor who can do well in a role as complicated as Kurt Cobain. I think he could possibly be Oscar-nominated, but the Courtney Love role might be the truly Oscar-bait one, as long as the actress doesn’t overdo it.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  11. collapse expand

    This is Hedious, we are speaking about a Legend, who created a totally significant different Genre of Music and is the reason for Many bands nowadays to exist ! His memory should be revivid, and that shouldn’t be done through an infamous teen idol, who doesn’t resemble the bit least of Kurt Cobain !, to me, this is more of an insult !, I mean TWILIGHT !?
    I wouldn’t watch that at all..
    They should have done harder work, and I hope this would never happen…

  12. collapse expand

    Again, Just take a look at what the others (Musicians) are represented by… DECENT STARS !
    No Offence to the Newbie Robert, but he just suits a pink vampire wanabee…

  13. collapse expand

    It’s all done! Pattinson won’t play Cobain! I don’t see how he would have been able to play that part since he’s booked solid till sometime in 2011…

  14. collapse expand

    Robert Best Actor at this time.

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