“Cry, if you want to cry,” Chris Cornell sang on the song “My Wave.” Brad Pitt and Peter Berg’s production company Film 45 will help you see and clear your eyes in a documentary about the late frontman and songwriter for Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, according to Variety. Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell, will participate as a producer. Paramount recently yanked Pitt’s World War Z 2, which he hoped to make with Fight Club director David Fincher, from its production schedule. Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Mile 22) will direct the as-yet-untitled movie. No other details of the Chris Cornell documentary have been announced.
Cornell died on May 18, 2017, a few hours after a Soundgarden show at Detroit’s Fox Theater. His death was ruled a suicide. An autopsy revealed painkillers and anti-anxiety medication in Cornell’s bloodstream. Vicky Cornell sued the singer’s doctor for “negligently” prescribing “dangerous mind-altering controlled substances.” Cornell was 52 years old.
Cornell is one of the chief architects of the Seattle grunge movement of the 1990s, Prior to Soundgarden. Cornell sang in the band Temple of the Dog, which included Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Mike McCready. Soundgarden’s drummer, Matt Cameron, drums in both bands. Soundgarden recorded platinum albums like 1994’s Superunknown, the band’s best-known album which included the hits “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Spoonman” and “My Wave.” Soundgarden broke up in 1997 and reunited in 2010.
Cornell joined Audioslave in 2001. The political art supergroup included former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford,. Audioslave put out three albums in six years. They were, disputedly, the first American band to play an outdoor rock concert in Cuba.
Cornell released five solo albums, starting with Euphoria Morning in 1999, followed by Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), the live album Songbook (2011), and Higher Truth (2015). Cornell was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his song “The Keeper,” which was featured in the 2011 film Machine Gun Preacher. Cornell co-wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), “You Know My Name.”
Soundgarden reunited for the “I Am the Highway” Chris Cornell tribute concert in Los Angeles in January. The show was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, and featured appearances from Metallica, Foo Fighters, Tom Morello, Miley Cyrus, Josh Homme, Geezer Butler and the surviving members of Audioslave and Temple of the Dog.
Cornell’s four-octave voice put him at number four on Hit Parader magazine’s “Heavy Metal’s All-Time Top 100 Vocalists,”and number 9 on Rolling Stone’s “Best Lead Singers of All Time” list. Cornell won a posthumous Best Rock Performance Grammy for the song “When Bad Does Good” last weeked.
Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.