How Many Jeff Buckley Biopics is too many?


Written by Hatti Whitman
21 Monday 21st November 2011

Penn Badgley as a spectacularly well-lit Jeff Buckley. Photo © Smuggler Films 2011.

First up will be Greetings From Tim Buckley, slated for release in the first half of 2012. The film neatly sidesteps the issue of not having music rights by focussing on a pre-fame Buckley preparing to perform at a 1991 tribute concert to his late father, the eponymous Tim. Where this version does get quite a lot of bang for its Buckley (sorry) is with the casting of Penn Badgley, aka Dan Humphries of Gossip Girl fame. Sure to bring plenty of angsty smoulder to the role, Badgley will also ensure that the film will get seen by legions of Gossip Girl fans who are more interested his cheekbones than Buckley’s musical beginnings. Which definitely won’t have had any influence on director Daniel Algrant’s decision to give him the role. Oh, and it’s got Kate Nash in it too. Which is nice.

Reeve Carney, who does bear a spooky resemblance to Buckley.

Next, the big fish. Listed on IMDB as Mystery White Boy, but more popularly known by the imaginative name Untitled Jeff Buckley Project (don’t worry, it’s a working title), Jake 'son-of-Ridley' Scott's film comes with the approval of Buckley’s estate and boasts his mother, Mary Guibert, as executive producer. It’s been bouncing around Hollywood for a while, but the project received a boost this summer with the news that Reeve Carney had been cast as Buckley - something of a snub to Robert Pattinson, who was rumoured to have been interested. Shame. Carney is currently starring in Spider-Man: Take Home the Dark on Broadway, but in spite of this the team behind the film seem to think he’s got loads of potential. It’s in pre-production at the moment so can be expected late next year at the earliest. Greetings may have the bigger name in the leading role but this is probably the film to see for Buckley fans. As well as having full music rights, the team behind the cameras counts members of the production teams for Finding Neverland and the massively underrated Control. Both of which were pretty decent additions to the biopic genre.

Jeff Buckley. Photo © Marie Jerome.

Finally, the outsider. Last June, Australian documentary-director Brendan Fletcher announced he was making a film entitled A Pure Drop, based on a 2008 biography of Buckley. The writer attached to Fletcher’s film is Train Houston, who was, confusingly, previously signed up to the Jake Scott project. No casting news at this point, so maybe R-Patz or fan-favourite James Franco will finally get a sniff at playing Buckley. Whoever gets cast will have to really make their mark as Fletcher’s film definitely won’t be ready for at least a year, so will have to be pretty good to avoid being ‘another Jeff Buckley film’. With one of the rumoured reasons for Mary Guibert getting behind a film of her son’s life being that she didn’t want to see him ‘misrepresented’ will Fletcher’s film, we wonder, show us the dark side of Buckley?

We'll have to wait and see. For now, take a moment to remind yourself of the original.

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