Frances Bean Cobain Gives Surprise Speech About Late Dad at Kurt Cobain Doc Premiere

Frances Bean Cobain in Hollywood on Tuesday (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

There was a palpable buzz at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater on Tuesday night as actors, musicians, and other insiders converged for the premiere of the documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Courtney Love was in the house, but it was someone else who stole the show: Frances Bean Cobain.

Not only did Frances Bean smile for photos with her long-estranged mother, but the lone child of Love and the late Nirvana frontman took a big step toward the spotlight she has for years avoided.

As director Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) introduced the film — revealing he spent eight years making what is easily the most intimate portrait of Kurt Cobain ever seen — he got a whisper in his ear and a look of surprise. Frances Bean, also a producer on the film and a relatively private person, wanted to address the crowd.

Now 22, Frances Bean stepped behind the podium and told the audience that she was tentative about watching the film at first — but soon she embraced it, and has now seen Montage of Heck a half-dozen times. “The reason I’ve been able to watch it six times is because of the film Brett made,” she said of the work, containing a trove of previously unseen and unheard video and audio recordings of the late Cobain, some dating back to his infant years.

“I didn’t know Kurt,” Frances Bean said of her late father, who died at age 27 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1994. But she added that she feels “very very strongly” that he would be happy with the film if he were here today.

“He was a human being,” Frances Bean continued. “And I think that’s been lost within the romanticism and the myth of him and his story.

“What this movie will provide, hopefully, is a real understanding of who he was. And I feel like he’d be really proud to have this movie made about him. So I’d like to thank Brett a lot,” she concluded as the audience responded with a hearty, respectful round of applause.

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, also featuring interviews with Love along with the late Cobain’s parents, sister, first girlfriend, and former band mate Krist Novoselic, opens in select theaters this weekend and will air May 4 on HBO.

Watch a clip from ‘Montage of Heck’: