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by Dana Harris
June 20, 2011 11:00 AM
15 Comments
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Penn Badgley Will Play Jeff Buckley -- But It's Not a Biopic

Penn Badgley.

Penn Badgley will star as Jeff Buckley in "Greetings from Tim Buckley." Now in preproduction, the film will start shooting in August under the direction of Dan Algrant ("Naked in New York"). Algrant wrote the script with Emma Sheanshang and David Brendel.

"Greetings from Tim Buckley" is not being positioned as a Jeff Buckley biopic but as a father-son drama. [See related story: The Tale of Two Jeff Buckley Movies: Which One Will Win?]

All music for "Greetings from Tim Buckley" will come from the Tim Buckley estate, with one exception: Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which Jeff Buckley covered on his only studio album, the 1994 "Grace."

Here's the logline:

"Greetings from Tim Buckley" follows 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 25-year-old Badgley has been acting more more than a decade and is best known for his role in the hit WB series "Gossip Girl." Said Badgley in a statement, "To play a man who was singularly gifted as an artist, greatly misunderstood and mythologized as a human being... It's something very special and sacred. I'm going to give all I can to this project.”

Tim Buckley made nine studio albums before he died at 28 in 1977, after a drug overdose. Jeff Buckley died at 30 in 1997, in an accidental drowning.

The film's producers are Patrick Milling Smith of Smuggler Films, Fred Zollo of A-Z Prods. and John N. Hart of Second Chance Prods. The executive producers are Brian Carmody, Jill Footlick and Ben Limberg. The DP is Andrij Parekh, who also shot "Blue Valentine" and "Half Nelson."

Said Smith in a statement:

“In its purest form this is a father and son story, a rite of passage that is made possible by a romantic journey Jeff finds himself on. We see Jeff accepting who he is to become and laying to rest the ghost of his father while ultimately finding his voice. We had been searching well over a year for an actor that can come close to Jeff’s spirit while also having the serious musical chops required to authentically tell this story. Penn’s audition blew us away and we knew we found our star.”

Smuggler is also developing the stage production of "Once," which will premiere in December at the NY Theatre Workshop. Also in preproduction is the feature "Becket," written and directed by William Monahan.

Finally, if you haven't had the pleasure: Here's Jeff Buckley performing "Halleujah."

15 Comments

  • dfprod | June 21, 2011 12:02 PMReply

    This is not the legit movie being made - it's the unauthorized fake one, and they don't have any of the rights to use any of Jeff's music - not even Hallelujah as they claim. Also - how are you going to make a movie about a father-son relationship that didn't exist? Jeff met his father once when he was 8. It looks like a hack job, with a hack actor, and I am placing my bet on the official, legit film being made by the producer that did Control

  • jim | June 21, 2011 10:31 AMReply

    couldnt afford james franco?

  • Jen | June 21, 2011 1:50 AMReply

    RPat can't act. I can't stand him. He got roles because of his look. Two of his movies had bad reviews. Penn is the good choice for this roles and yes he can sing.

  • Jared | June 21, 2011 1:32 AMReply

    I'm usually a big fan of these films that come out in twos because one always has to come out on top. As of now, I'm liking the idea of exploring Jeff Buckley before he was famous and not having it branded as a "biopic". I've never seen Gossip Girl and by the looks of it, Penn Badgley hasn't done much. But I think we all said the same about Michelle Williams who came from that same teen show background and I'm surprised by how much I like her now. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt I guess.

  • Corolla | June 21, 2011 1:23 AMReply

    Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is such a beautiful song and in so many different interpretations.

    John Cale made the song accessible and now it's iconic.

  • Victoria | June 21, 2011 1:18 AMReply

    Penn is pretty easy on the eyes, I never knew he could sing! I'm in!

  • Tony | June 20, 2011 12:28 PMReply

    I heard R Patt was doing this??? I personally think P Badge is a much better fit. Mmmmmm.

  • Courtney | June 20, 2011 12:26 PMReply

    I'm so happy for him! I'm going to love this.

  • zach galafiniakis | June 20, 2011 12:15 PMReply

    did someone say dreamboat? gossip girl is my favorite show. can't wait to see more penn.

  • sam | June 20, 2011 12:10 PMReply

    Is this legit?

  • Perri | June 20, 2011 12:10 PMReply

    Oh yeah - his singing is kind of really good!?! Who knew! Loved him in Gossip Girl. Kinda really excited to see this!

  • liz | June 20, 2011 11:50 AMReply

    he sings in this bullet magazine interview and he's good too.
    http://youtu.be/94rqZYuzHVY

  • Liz | June 20, 2011 11:49 AMReply

    He sings in this Bullet Magazine interview and he's good too.
    http://youtu.be/94rqZYuzHVY

  • Nadia | June 20, 2011 11:45 AMReply

    I like him, but can he sing?

  • Rob | June 20, 2011 11:37 AMReply

    This could be an interesting breakout role? I'll stay tuned...