The actress and musician spoke about the moment during her appearance and revealed that she was initially set to play Marla, a role that Helena Bonham Carter would later take over. Love stressed that she wasn’t just considered for the role, but had actually been given the job.
“I get the role, so the lawyers have called the lawyers — this is my role,” Love said. “We’d done all these table reads, I’d gone to work privately with David, and I get this phone call and it’s from Gus Van Sant, and Gus is having lunch with Brad Pitt … he goes, ‘Brad really wants to do a movie about music.’”
Love went on to say that Pitt and Van Sant then began pitching a movie about Kurt Cobain to her. Love — who was married to Cobain prior to his death — said that she regrets not saying yes and then denying them later, but admits she was enraged at the idea of it when it was initially pitched.
“It was like the hellmouth opened, oh my God, ‘We wanna do it about Kurt!’ And 22 years later I still kick myself for not having the shark instinct to be like, ‘Sure,’ and f–k ‘em later. I went nuclear. ‘I don’t do Faust, who the f–k do you think you are?!’”
Love also mentioned that Edward Norton, who she was dating at the time and was co-starring in the film, was upset when he found out, but couldn’t do anything about it. It was around that time that director David Fincher called to let her know that she had been let go from the role.
“Edward gets home, he starts sobbing — his mother had just died, so it was very much allowed — but he was like, ‘I don’t have the power’ … My landline rang and it was David Fincher. I knew it was gonna be him. By the way, God bless Helena Bonham Carter. She’s a genius. I’ve never seen that film … And yeah, he fired me because I wouldn’t let Brad play Kurt.”
Love mentions that Pitt would continue to try and make a film about Cobain through his production company Plan B in the following years. She also brought up director Cameron Crowe, who Love said joked that Pitt had been put on the earth to stalk Love to play the role.
“My friend Cameron Crowe was like — I don’t think he meant it as literally as it’s become — but like, ‘Brad Pitt was put on this earth to stalk you for Kurt,’ which has been going on since ’96.”
While Pitt would never play Cobain in a film, director Gus Van Sant would go on to make a film that was largely considered to be about Cobain in 2005’s Last Days. However, due to legal reasons, the film makes no mention of the legendary artist.