00:00:00 | 3:02:50




First-time director Benjamin Statler knew if he ever made a movie, it would be about one thing: lingering questions surrounding the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Now, that movie has come to fruition in the form of the docu-drama Soaked in Bleach, and Courtney Love is not a fan. Statler tells us why he ended up self-financing the film and talks about Love’s attempts to block theaters from showing his film.

Photo: Benjamin Statler, director of Soaked in Bleach, courtesy of MPRM Communications

Hollywood News Banter 6 MIN, 4 SEC

TV Guide magazine chief content officer Michael Schneider joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Once a year, fan-boys and fan-girls from around the world descend on San Diego for the biggest comic book gathering in the world. Of course, Comic-Con is now about more than just comic books. Presentations on TV shows and movies, and of course, parties, abound. Michael Schneider checks in from San Diego, where he’s covering the scene and leading panel discussions with people like Seth McFarlane. 
  • Also, a game changing deal for South Park, and Paramount makes a deal with two theater chains to rush a couple of low budget films to digital.
'Soaked in Bleach' 21 MIN, 37 SEC

In May, director Brett Morgen joined us to talk about his Kurt Cobain documentary, Montage of Heck.  Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, had approached Morgen to do the project and gave him access to journals and tapes belonging to Cobain.

Love was happy with Montage of Heck, but not so much with Soaked in Bleach -- a very different documentary about Nirvana frontman. She says the film portrays her in a false light and her lawyers are trying prevent theaters from showing it.

Directed by first time filmmaker Benjamin Statler, Soaked in Bleach uses interviews with investigators and experts as well as re-enactments to explore the events surrounding Cobain's 1994 death from a shotgun blast. The singer was also found to have a massive amount of heroin in his system. Seattle police quickly ruled it a suicide.

One of Statler's main sources in the film is Tom Grant, a cop-turned-private detective who was hired by Courtney Love more than 20 years ago to find her missing husband.

As soon as Grant started working for Love, he became suspicious and began recording their interactions. Having come to doubt that Cobain committed suicide, he long ago made those tapes available online. When Statler first stumbled upon those recordings on Tom Grant's website, he thought someone should do a movie about the events surrounding Cobain's death. As the years passed, he was shocked that no one ever did.

When he finally set out to make his own film, he started to figure out why. Many people told him to stay away from the topic altogether. When he couldn't get a financial backer for the film, he funded it himself. While the film got decent distribution in Europe, theaters in the US have been less eager to pick it up. He ended up doing a day and date release with Vimeo.

In addition to forensic and homicide experts, Soaked in Bleach features an interview with Norm Stamper, the chief of police in Seattle at the time of Cobain's death. In the film, Stamper says, "If I were the chief today, I would re-open this investigation."

Statler told us that even if he never makes any of his money back on the film, if he can get others to agree with Stamper and reopen the case, it will have all been worth it.

Benjamin Statler, director of 'Soaked in Bleach' (@SiBtheMovie)

Soaked In Bleach

Benjamin Statler

Subscribe to the 5 Things To Do newsletter

Never miss the best of what to do with your free time.


More From The Business


Latest From KCRW

View Schedule


View All Events


Player Embed Code