Screenwriter Will Fetters Talks Clint Eastwood’s A STAR IS BORN; Says Script Was Inspired by Kurt Cobain

     April 1, 2012


In addition to acting and directing, Clint Eastwood is quite an avid music lover. He’s composed the score to a number of his films and was even awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College of Music. As such, it came as no surprise when it was announced that Eastwood was planning a remake of A Star Is Born with Beyonce Knowles set to star as a burgeoning young artist.   Production was pushed back due to the star’s pregnancy, but now that Blue Ivy is alive and well, Eastwood is working on casting his male lead.

Our correspondent Sheila Roberts got to speak with A Star Is Born screenwriter Will Fetters during a roundtable interview at the press day for the romantic drama The Lucky One, and the scribe took some time to talk about his approach to the remake—including a heavy inspiration from Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain—and the casting of the male lead. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

clint-eastwood-a-star-is-bornFor those unfamiliar with the story, A Star Is Born concerns an aging alcoholic star with a career on the decline who helps a young talent rise to stardom. Romantic entanglements and tensions arise due to the close quarters and fading starpower of the elder artist. Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, and Christian Bale were all considered to star opposite Beyonce, but deals with the actors never materialized. Last we heard, Warner Bros. was courting Tom Cruise to take the male lead, but formal discussions have yet to begin.

When asked about the status of the project, Fetters said Eastwood is still on the hunt for his male star:

“Clint is talking to people… He’ll just call these actors. He’ll just get their phone number and call them because he can. That’s what you can do when you’re Clint Eastwood. Right now he’s trying to find the actor who’s going to be [the male lead]… I don’t know who it’s going to be but it’s going to be a pretty big name presumably and they’ll have ideas about the character and I’ll have to shape them.”

kurt-cobain-a-star-is-bornWhen asked how he’s tweaked the story for this new update, Fetters said that he reinvented the male role. His inspiration for the character actually came from Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain:

“I wanted to approach A Star is Born, when somebody mentioned it, I said, for me, the framework was if Kurt Cobain never got to go Unplugged and survived and it was 20 years later and it’s now and then he wanted to do that album, with that understanding that he was this grunge icon, that’d be tough to get done. If he was past his prime and no longer someone, how does he get that album? The whole movie for me is this balance between art and commerce, which is when you first start in this business, you are smacked in the face with it.”

It’s an interesting take, but one that certainly resonates with the current state of the music industry. Fetters said that his version will definitely approach that issue:

“The music industry is changing. It’s harder to be a successful artist and to make money off of it, especially if you’re a dinosaur. If you’re a guy in your fifties, as an artist in a world of Justin Bieber. If you’re Kurt Cobain now in your fifties, what do you do? How do you exist in this world? To me, it was almost like this fish out of water situation.”

The scribe cautioned that he has no idea what’s going to happen, so the script could go through some major changes by the time cameras roll.  He also noted that he’ll need to sit down with whoever signs on for the male lead and take their input into account when shaping the character, but I quite like the Cobain angle.  It makes the character much more of an interesting outsider than “some out of touch old guy” mulling about in the industry.  Warner Bros. will presumably want to get things going as soon as possible, so once Eastwood finds his man, things should start moving forward quickly.


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