By Simon Dang | The Playlist April 3, 2012 at 8:46AM
Over the years, there's been no less than three versions of "A Star is Born," with the two lead characters reinvented on each occasion: James Mason and Judy Garland, Janet Graynor and Fredic March, then Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. With R&B star Beyonce on board, we're getting yet another iteration of the story in Clint Eastwood's gestating project, with scribe Will Fetters now revealing an intriguing grunge icon as his personal inspiration for the story.
“I think I’ve reinvented the Norman Maine character, the lead,” Fetters told CraveOnline. “I wanted to do 'A Star is Born' because I’m a huge Kurt Cobain fan. That was like my Kennedy assassination when I was a teenager. When he died it was a huge horrible thing. So I approached 'A Star is Born,' for me the framework was all right, if Kurt Cobain never got to go Unplugged and survived and it’s 20 years later and it’s now, and he wanted to try to do that album with that understanding as this grunge icon. That’d be tough to get done if he was past his prime, no longer selling, how does he get that album?”
One aspect that has and will remain a part of the 'Star Is Born' story is the relationship between the two leads. Fetters, though, now notes that the romance will be taking a secondary part in his script with the male lead's struggles seemingly at the center of things. "The love story is there and it’s been done five times, but...I feel like right now is an interesting time," he noted. "My industry’s changing and trying to deal with it. People aren’t going to the movies as much anymore. The music industry’s changing. It’s harder to be a successful artist and make money off it, especially if you’re a dinosaur. If you’re a guy in your 50s, in a world of Justin Bieber, if you’re Kurt Cobain now in your 50s, what do you do? How do you exist in this world?”
So, will the male lead in Eastwood's film simply be a Cobain surrogate? Not quite. While Eastwood is renowned for sticking by the words on the page, whether he interprets things the same way as Fetters remains to be seen. Further more, it looks like scripting is still underway with Fetters also noting that he'll likely cater the script for whoever ends up being cast, whether that be Tom Cruise -- who was most recently noted to be Warner Bros. number one target -- or someone else. We're expecting a fairly big name, though, with the likes of Will Smith, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Hamm, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale previously linked.
Fetters confirmed that Eastwood is still in the process of "meeting with actors. He exists in a different realm, but he’ll just call these actors. He’ll just get their phone number and call them because he can because that’s what you can do when you’re Clint Eastwood. So he’s right now trying to find the actor and I’ll write more. Whoever it ends up being, if it’s going to be a pretty big name presumably, they’ll have ideas about the character and I’ll have to shape them.”
And while that search continues, Eastwood is spending the spring shooting a rare starring role in the upcoming baseball-centered drama, "The Trouble With The Curve."