It’s been a confusing last few days. “Gossip Girl” star Penn Badgley was rumored to be playing Jeff Buckley in the long gestating biopic that is set to be directed by Jake Scott. The word was getting so heated that co-producer Orian Williams told Pop & Hiss that the word around Badgley in the developing biopic was flatly wrong. “Penn is not involved in the film at all,” Williams said. “It’s crazy how these stories get out.” Well, he was both right and wrong. Badgley won’t be playing Jeff Buckley in his film, but as it turns out, he’s playing the singer in another movie about his life.
Smuggler Films announced today that Badgley will star in “Greetings From Tim Buckley,” a film about the singer that comes in from a different angle. Written by Dan Algrant, Emma Sheanshang and David Brendel — with Algrant to direct — according to the press release, the film will tell “the true story of the days leading up to Jeff Buckley’s eminent 1991 performance at his father’s tribute concert in St. Ann’s Church. Through a romance with a young woman working at the concert, he comes to understand the father who abandoned him. Culminating in a cathartic performance of his father’s most famous songs, Jeff’s debut stuns the audience and launches his career as one of the greatest young musicians of his time.”
The concert was Buckley’s unlikely stepping stone into a music career. He had initial reservations about performing, citing personal instead of professional reasons for participating, but his renditions of “I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain” (written for an infant Jeff Buckley and his mother), “Sefronia – The King’s Chain”, “Phantasmagoria in Two” and “Once I Was” caught the attention of many. Badgley’s “musical chops” apparently landed him the gig and it’s definitely a very big step out of the teen soap world.
This project is moving fast with lensing to take place in August in New York City. No word yet on how this will affect that other Jeff Buckley biopic but it won’t be the first time Hollywood has two competing projects, though clearly, this one has the leg up with a star and a start date penciled in.