Rumours have been swirling about who will play the lead role in a biopic of doomed troubadour Jeff Buckley. It has now been revealed that there are two films in production, with producers of one announcing that Penn Badgley, star of Easy A and TV show Gossip Girl will play the role of the ‘Last Goodbye’ singer in a production set to begin filming in New York City in August.
It’s been revealed that Greetings from Tim Buckley, which will star Badgley, is centred around the relationship between the musician and his father, folk balladeer Tim Buckley, who also died tragically young. It has the support of the estate of Buckley senior, who abandoned his family when Jeff was a baby. Apparently this is one of two films about the life of Buckley junior, who died during a moonlit swim in the Mississippi River in 1997.
It is centred around the days leading up to a tribute concert to his father in 1991 which was considered a breakthrough moment in Buckley’s career. Naturally, because it’s a film, rather than going home to find an eviction notice on his apartment door, he finds himself falling for a girl working at the concert who then helps him come to terms with his strained relationship with his absent father.
According to producer Patrick Milling Smith, “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 [had] found our star.”
Badgley, 24, said in a statement”To play a man who was singularly gifted as an artist, greatly misunderstood and mythologised as a human being … It’s something very special and sacred. I’m going to give all I can to this project.” However, it’s not the only Buckley project on the go – there is a rival one in production which has the support of the late singer’s mother which still has Pattison as the front runner to play the part.