'Soaked in Bleach' Director Talks Courtney Love Drama Surrounding Kurt Cobain Death Documentary: Exclusive Preview

Frank Micelotta
Kurt Cobain of Nirvana during the taping of MTV Unplugged at Sony Studios in New York City on Nov. 18, 1993.

This is certainly a big year for Kurt Cobain documentaries, but of the two so far released Soaked in Bleach is by far the black sheep.

In contrast to the Courtney Love-sanctioned Montage of Heck that debuted on HBO in January, Soaked in Bleach has been subject to numerous cease and desist letters from Cobain's widow and has had a hard go of things on its way to release, as it reexamines the circumstances of the rock icon's death in 1994 and calls for re-opening the investigation. 

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In an upcoming interview with KCRW's The Business (posting in full on Friday, July 10, and airing Monday, July 13), director and producer Benjamin Statler made his case to host Kim Masters and discussed the legal issues and more surrounding the film. Billboard presents an exclusive early window into that talk.

The first time filmmaker Statler told Masters that film's real origin was discovering recordings by private detective Tom Grant that he had published online from before and after the Nirvana frontman's death. Love had hired Grant originally to find Cobain when he had gone missing previously. But he had been recording private conversations along the way and became suspicious of Love, following Cobain's death, which was quickly determined a suicide by shotgun blast with massive amount of heroine in his system. 

"So far over the past 20 years it's my understanding anybody who's given Tom Grant any kind of a platform has basically had the same thing happen," said Statler. "And he's always told them from the beginning, 'She'll never follow through.'" 

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That's because, if Love were to follow through with a defamation lawsuit, as she has threatened, she would then be open to discovery under oath in court. He continued, "I know I'm not saying anything wrong. I am simply saying the investigation needs to be reopened."

Leading up the to Soaked in Bleach's release, Statler said he received several cease and desist letters from Love's attorneys. Theaters showing the film have received them, as well, but only one has caved so far and no further action has been taken on Love's behalf. 

Statler says he understands there may be a general dismissal of his film as a "conspiracy theory" but says that phrase is misused here. And to back him up he has a number of serious experts, including the former Seattle chief of police who was in charge of the department at the time of Cobain's death, who are also calling for the case to be reopened. 

"Relative to what they've been shown in the media, that's an understandable eye roll," he says. "The thing is now we have the most qualified, renowned experts saying unequivocally that the investigation should be reopened. So I believe that should be respected and I hope people will take it seriously before they jump to a conclusion."

Kim Masters' full interview with Statler will post on Friday, July 10, on KCRW's The Business.