The rumors are true. Penn Badgley has won the role of Jeff Buckley in a biopic about the singer's life.
The "Gossip Girl" star will play the beloved singer/songwriter in "Greetings From Tim Buckley," which is set to begin filming in New York City later this summer. The film will tell the story of the young singer as he prepares to play at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Church in 1991 during a tribute concert to his father, fellow musician Tim Buckley.
"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," Badgley said in a statement about nabbing the part. "I'm going to give all I can to this project."
Though it was originally thought that Badgley was competing with Robert Pattinson for the role, according to The Los Angeles Times, Pattinson was in the running for a completely different biopic about the singer, who drowned at the age of 30 in 1997. While the search for that movie's Buckley is still under way, the makers of "Greetings From Tim Buckley" are sure about their choice.
"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," Patrick Milling Smith of Smuggler Films, the production company behind the film, said. "Penn's audition blew us away and we knew we found our star."
The film will be directed by Dan Algrant ("People I Know," "Naked in New York"). Smith added that the film's story will show another side of the singer's life. "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," he explained. "We see Jeff accepting who he is to become and laying to rest the ghost of his father while ultimately finding his voice."
A California native, Jeff Buckley rose to fame in the '90s in New York City and recorded only one studio album, Grace, before his untimely death. During his lifetime, his moody, romantic tracks paired with his signature voice established him as on the of the go-to singer/songwriters of his generation. His trademark songs include "Last Goodbye" and a cover of the Leonard Cohan classic, "Hallelujah."