Outer Banks: The Unexpected Way Kurt Cobain Inspired John B's Character

"Outer Banks" is chock-full of compelling character arcs, but few have undergone as radical of a shift as Chase Stokes' Pogue leader John B. Initially a cheery, carefree, adventurous spirit, his quest to locate his missing dad takes some shocking and often traumatic turns. The John B that audiences see in subsequent seasons is far more emotionally compromised and hard-edged, and his wardrobe evolves to reflect that change. As it turns out, Stokes followed a bit of a blueprint in developing his character's new fashion sense, looking to the iconic late rocker Kurt Cobain of Nirvana for inspiration.

In an interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Stokes went into depth about how he and the show's creative team decided to model John B around the Nirvana frontman. As the actor recalled, he was in a meeting with the show's costume director following the ending of "Outer Banks" Season 1 when the idea dawned on him. "I was listening to a lot of Nirvana at the time, sort of building the character in my head, and I said, 'Kurt Cobain,'" Stokes said. "Like, let's do big flannels. Let's do things that are out of the ordinary for where he normally is. And so, we sort of modeled the imagery of the character with the dialogue and the script going forward."

John B and Kurt Cobain are a good match

John B may borrow his looks from Kurt Cobain, but the parallels between the two characters aren't as superficial as sharing a propensity for flannel shirts. Indeed, Chase Stokes' desire to model elements of his character after the rock star was also a result of him noting deeper connections between the pair.

Despite rocketing to stardom in the '90s, Cobain's personal life was deeply troubled. The star struggled with depression and addiction, and the tumultuous turns his life had taken as a result of his musical success weighed on him. In the end, the talent died by suicide at the age of 27. Of course, John B is a fictional character whose struggles are fed through the narrative rules of TV to make for an entertaining show, but some similarities can nonetheless be drawn. John B's greatest issues are cerebral, and he spends much of "Outer Banks" dealing with self-doubt, grievous personal loss, and long-term trauma.

Stokes spoke with InStyle about how Cobain has impacted John B's character progression. "We've used influence [from] Kurt Cobain in the way that he's been isolated [and] walked through the last chapter of his life because John B [...] is surrounded by so much beauty but his own internal turmoil is what is driving him, and he is trying to figure out what path to go," the star said. "There's definitely some notes of that, that we've layered in the last two seasons in particular."