Some stories need to be told - especially one as important as Detective Tom Grant's account of what happened on those fateful days leading up to legendary rock icon, Kurt Cobain's death.
Soaked In Bleach is one of the most bold and controversial docudramas ever made. Directed and co-produced by Benjamin Statler, the film is based on Grant's 1994 phone recordings between himself and Courtney Love, after she had hired the private investigator to track down her missing husband - Cobain - only days before his deceased body was found.
The film is eerie and stomach churning as it takes you on an unfathomable journey through a cold and callous world of drugs, money and severe narcissism.
This side of the story has been labeled a conspiracy theory, but most of what you hear in this film are facts - and the most important fact being that, whether Kurt Cobain committed suicide or was murdered, the case was handled with extreme carelessness, as well as some hefty cover-ups by Love and the Seattle Police Department. Definitely not the way a high profile case such as this should have been handled. There was more to the death of Kurt Cobain. So much more...
There is no doubt that this film had to be made. Soaked In Bleach is an intelligent, informative film that needed to be revealed -- and all it took was for the right group of people to bring this essential story back to life -- Actress Sarah Scott was one of those people.
It's one of those roles a real actor dreams of landing. Like her or not, Courtney Love is the ultimate personification of "character" (with such a bizarre temperament, it's almost as if she is already fictional)
Love's personality is like a play ground for the 'imitating actor'. Her look, her attitude and of course that mouth. No one has quite a way with words like Courtney does.
Just as her own lyrics state "Come on, try and shut me up". Whether you love to hate Courtney or just hate to love her - one thing is for sure - you simply cannot ignore her. Love has a way of slithering under your skin and multiplying until she takes complete control of everything. Courtney Love can chew you up and spit you out --- but only if you let her, of course.
No one has yet had the guts to really take on the true art of becoming Courtney Love --- Until Sarah Scott came along.
American actress, Sarah Scott stars as the raunch rock diva
herself, in a film where the script comes directly from the horse's mouth - (meaning the actual recordings of the phone conversations between Love and Grant.)
Scott tackles the fierce persona of Courtney Love with vigor and genius. She transforms herself into Love's untamable beast of a personality, and hits her mark with direct dominance and tact.
Watching Scott on the screen, you are in awe of her as she pulls you into these 'real life moments' making you believe this is actual video footage caught on some hidden camera somewhere. You are no longer able to see the actress Sarah Scott. She is gone - and the spirit of Courtney Love has taken her place. It is hauntingly mesmerizing, to say the least.
Ms. Sarah Scott obviously has a talent
not to be trifled with.
Photo: Ron Batzdorff
We, at Cool Magazine, were so very delighted to chat with Sarah all about her personal
experiences on the set of this controversial film, as well as her opinions on the Cobain Case,
and Love's infamous 'cease and desist' letters.
Sarah is a remarkably cool girl and we would like to thank her for allowing us the opportunity
to revisit this film project that means so much to us.
Were you at all aware of the Cobain conspiracy before you got the part?
"Loosely. I recall watching the documentary Kurt & Courtney many years ago. It blatantly alleges Courtney Love’s involvement in Kurt’s death, in what would’ve been a murder case instead of a suicide. I remember finding the idea very intriguing then, but over the years I didn’t follow the story much and hadn’t given the topic much thought until Soaked In Bleach came about."
Did you have to audition for the role? Was there a lot of competition or did you blow them away immediately?
"I blew them away. Ha ha. I’m kidding. I don’t actually know what the competition was like, but thank you anyways. I do know that I surprised myself with how easily this role, even during the audition, felt right for me. Heidi Levitt and Michael Sanford were the casting directors and it all started with just a regular audition at their offices. While in the waiting room, before going in, I happen to be sitting next to Danny Roebuck – the actor who ended up playing Tom Grant. He gave me a big confidence boost by remarking how much I looked like her. There was a kind of kismet energy I felt while reading that first scene on camera. When callbacks came around a week later, I was in New York on another project, so casting organized a Skype meeting with the director, Ben Statler. I was staying with friends in Brooklyn who graciously gave me enough space to get into character and do my video audition. Production was starting right away, so if it wasn’t for that technology I might not have gotten the part. They sent over the script with an offer the next day and said they need to know immediately if I could do it. I was torn because of the sensitive nature of the project, and I wanted to be sure I was comfortable with everything I would be saying, seeing that I was playing a real person who is alive and well and known to be a force of nature. Also, most of the scenes I was in were directly transcribed from audio recordings taken during that time. I had to be sure this was the right move for me. I printed the script out at a Kinkos and took it to a coffee shop to sit and read beginning to end, and make my decision. As I neared the final page of the script, my heart was racing with both excitement and fear. I kid you not, as I began reading that final page, “Violet” from Hole’s Live Through This album started playing through the coffee house speakers. I got chills. I didn’t need much more of a sign than that. "
What was the vibe like on the set?
"We had such a great time. The Red Studios, where we shot most of the interiors, is a fantastic little studio in Hollywood and I had shot there once before when I filmed a day on The Artist, that black & white silent film, so it felt magical and comfortable right from the get go. Ben Statler, our director, is so passionate about this case, and the story surrounding it that his energy created a true sense of urgency and importance to what we were all doing. I made some great friends on set of SIB – Dave Fraunces and Mandy Henderson are two wonderful people I’m actually working with today on another project. The woman who did costumes, Bonnie Stauch, was super creative. She really listened to my needs, as we discovered together what felt and looked right for the role (on me). It was the same with the hair and makeup department who worked tirelessly to create and maintain ‘my look’. We ended up using a wig, even though my hair was short and blonde, because we wanted to get her bangs and coloring just right. On the very first day of the shoot, I was only halfway through with getting my hair and makeup done when the 1st AD called for a rehearsal. I had to walk onto the set – seeing everyone for the first time - with my real hair all pinned down under a wig cap, but no wig, and only a little makeup on. Everyone was starring at me and there were a few people I know (because they later told me) who didn’t really see it (meaning me, playing Courtney), and were a little worried I was miscast. I also hadn’t really gotten used to the constant smoking so it was no surprise (but really sucked) when the herbal cigarette I was practicing with, while lying down, accidentally ashed on the skin of my throat and gave me a good little burn. When that first rehearsal was over I went back to hair and makeup chair and resumed getting ready. I was on the verge of tears. I knew I was meant to do this, but I also knew I had to make a real decision to let go of any fear and walk into the flame. When I came back to shoot that first scene – wig on – makeup right – head in the game – I was ready. "
Your portrayal of Courtney Love is so dead-on it's unreal. We must ask, how did you research the role in order to become that distinct personality that is Courtney Love?
"I had less than two weeks from the time I got offered the part to play Courtney Love, to when filming began. Since I tend to be a very physical actor, I knew I needed to zero in on finding where this character lived in my own body first. I devoured video interviews on the internet of Courtney and studied her movements. There’s one interview she does with Barbara Walters that was fascinating to me, and very helpful. Her nuanced and repetitive head jerks, the intensity with which she inhaled her cigarettes, how her mouth moved when she spoke, how desperately she needed to be heard, and believed. She seemed both vulnerable and powerful. I got this sense she is someone who takes up a lot of energetic space and has strong sense of her masculine side. She used her arms a lot. Made waves like she wanted people to know she was there. Physically, Courtney is actually quite a bit taller than I am, so I knew how consciously I would need to activate my strength and exude a boldness and bigger than life presence. I was also well aware of Ms. Love growing up – the grunge era did not miss my hometown. I was actually big fan of her band Hole, and when they played a gig in Dallas while I was in high school some friends and I got tickets and went to her show. I crowd surfed that night – bit of a wild child myself - and remember getting tossed pretty hard and landing awkwardly on the other side of the blockade where some security guards had to help me up. Wow, weren’t those the days of carelessness. When I went in to start filming a scene from this movie, I focused in on what it felt like to be this ruler of a reckless world I was creating with every wave of my arm. She’s a woman in charge. She sets the tone, she’s always the one steering the ship. That kind of bossiness also comes pretty naturally to me. "
Photo: Ron Batzdorff
Photo: Ron Batzdorff
Photo: Ron Batzdorff
Photo: Ron Batzdorff
Did you receive any praise for your participation in this project or did the controversy cause any backlash for you?
"I received quite a bit of praise from my peers and community for this role. Folks I’d worked with in the past reached out to give honest positive feedback and many voiced that they felt this role would be a game changer for my career. I wouldn’t say that happened necessarily, but it’s all been on the up and up and I do think it’s helped me continue to land jobs and book work. It was great learning experience, and fortunately there wasn’t any kind of personal backlash. Courtney Love however, did everything in her power to prevent this film from receiving the broad release we had anticipated, and therefore it didn’t get the theatrical run that was intended. She sent cease and desist letters to all of the movie theatres who planned on screening the film the day before it opened. Only a small handful called her bluff and went through with showing the movie. And her threats were bullshit, no one was indicted. I also believe that Brett Morgen’s film, Montage of Heck, was strategically released right before Soaked In Bleach to distract viewers from the evidence that’s revealed. But hey, I like a good conspiracy. "
Do you think, after all that you learned from making this film, that they should re-open the Cobain Case?
"Absolutely. The question remains, is there enough actual remaining evidence to prove anything new, beyond a shadow of a doubt? That I don’t know. Was the case mishandled, 100% yes. "
Photo: Vincent Sandoval/WireImage
Did you get to meet Tom Grant? What kind of person did he strike you as?
"Tom Grant was often on set with us, and it was so powerful to just sit down with him, and hear first hand how he got so involved in all of this, how his life has changed since meeting Courtney, and what was motivating him to help make this movie. Tom Grant was very much involved with the film making process. He was there to support and guide where he could. I met him on set probably the first or second day we were filming. He reminded me of a big teddy bear on duty. He strikes me as this incredibly genuine and honorable man with a responsibility to do the right thing, regardless of how inconvenient it might be. He didn’t know who Kurt Cobain was when Courtney randomly called his business number out of the yellow pages looking for a private detective. And yet, he told me that since this case was brought to his attention, there hasn’t been a day that goes by that he doesn’t think about it, and the ramifications it has had on Kurt’s fans. He is extremely dedicated to uncovering the real truth behind what happened. I didn’t get a sense that any of his motivation was for his own notoriety or personal gain. He expressed, quite the opposite, that this has been a huge emotional and psychological burden on him over the past few decades. "
After going through the full process of the filming, did the Courtney character have any effect on you?
"My husband would definitely say so. In fact, sometimes, he refers to my “Courtney period” – which was during and after the shooting of Soaked In Bleach. Oookkkaaay…I guess I had a little trouble shaking her. It’s hard to be objective about this. I tend to go all the way with the roles I take on – a lot of actors do - especially when the character is going through something extreme or intense. I allow these parts to infuse and inform my life, it’s just how I do it. I grab from personal experience and sometimes, morbidly, conjure up drama or internal strife so that I can more easily ‘feel’ what I need to in order to be in it. I’m sure there’s a healthier approach, but one of the things I love about acting is that you are constantly redefining your process, and skills. "
Photo: Ron Batzdorff
What's next for you? Any work or projects you would like to share?
"Work begets work right? And you’ve gotta keep doing it if you wanna keep doing it, which I do! I love my job so much. I am most excited right now about this half hour comedy show I’m starring in called Mogulettes. It’s about two half-sisters running a production company – doing all they can to make an Oscar winning film. We shot the pilot earlier this year, and now it’s being shopped around. There are many new platforms and networks out there with streaming so I have high hopes of it landing somewhere great. The other big project I’m working on is that of Motherhood. I gave birth to a baby girl in June of 2017, and since then my husband and I have had our worlds turned upside down, in the best of ways. As my own mom says, it’s my biggest role yet. "
Sarah Scott is an unbelievable actress - for the obvious reasons, of course - but what truly makes her unbelievable is how important acting is to her. She takes every bit of it seriously ----- and it shows.
If you haven't yet heard of Sarah Scott, look her up! She's a really cool actress who will dazzle you with her sensational gifts. We believe Sarah's got a special spark that's about to catch fire very soon.
- By M & J Shepherd