With his messy leonine mane and finely chiseled features, Brett Morgen looks as much like a rock star as the subjects he trains his manic eye on. Think a younger Wayne Coyne without the suits, or John Hiatt in his prime.
Unconventional bordering on revolutionary in his approach to filmmaking, he’s a collagist, a fantabulist, and a seer. Notorious for the amount of research he does, Morgen begins his projects by combing through every bit of media he can find, sifting through artifacts, ephemera and intimate archival material, personal diaries, and photographs. He reads every book written (in chronological order) on his subject until a pattern emerges and he is able to extricate the person from the legend.
In The Kid Stays in the Picture, his Tinseltown soap opera of the life of Godfather and Chinatown producer Robert Evans, he captures the vulnerability and the sometimes forced glamor in the rise and fall of the producer.
Similarly, in his tender and sad portrait of Nirvana’s fallen minstrel in Cobain: Montage of Heck, what emerges is a painfully honest portrait of the psychically wounded musician, constructed from Kurt Cobain’s own diaries, sound recordings, artwork, and interviews with his previously pressshy family. In Crossfire Hurricane, Morgen’s account of the Rolling Stones’ first 20 years, he takes viewers back to the times when the Stones sizzled with Dionysian fury, constructing an intimate narrative from a series of interviews conducted in the 85 hours he spent with the band.