For a movie that wasn’t enormously well-received when it was released and remains pretty divisive to this day, Gus Van Sant’s Last Days still retains a certain bit of cultural cachet. The movie is about the—ahem—last days of Kurt Cobain’s life, only the character isn’t called Kurt Cobain and the other people in his life aren’t necessarily based on Courtney Love and the other members of Nirvana. It’s a Jackie Jormp-Jomp biopic, but it’s played straight (maybe too straight) and it doesn’t have phony Nirvana songs… until now! Maybe!
Yes, according to The Guardian, Last Days is being adapted into a musical, specifically an opera of all things, thanks to Oliver Leith, the 31-year-old composer-in-residence at London’s Royal Opera House. The Guardian, which erroneously says that the opera is based on the death of Kurt Cobain (it’s based on a movie that is inspired by the death of Kurt Cobain), says that the opera “plunges into the torment that created a modern myth,” with with Leith adding that Cobain’s death is “an archetypal story” and that “operas deal well in those.”
But… again, it’s not about Kurt Cobain. It’s about a guy named Blake who looks like Kurt Cobain and did the same stuff as Kurt Cobain and then died in the same manner as Kurt Cobain, but the fact that the Opera House and Leith keep saying high-minded stuff about this story and what it means seems to imply that maybe they wanted to do an opera about Kurt Cobain but got the rights to Gus Van Sant’s Last Days instead and are now making an opera about this guy Blake.
The clever trick is that you could probably get away with this without ever saying “Hey, this guy is named Blake, he’s not the guy he looks like,” and if the Cobain estate or whatever tries to turn it into an issue, they can fall back on the fact that it’s based on a movie. The Royal Opera House should probably stop letting sites like The Guardian say the opera is about Kurt Cobain if they want that plan to work, but that’s not our problem to solve.