When it comes to lighting up the silver screen, there’s probably no tougher challenge for an actor than convincingly portraying another, different kind of artist—and that goes double when it’s a musician. Actors looking to convincingly play these roles have to learn to play any number of instruments, vocalize like a pro, trash a hotel room like a rockstar, and—in some cases—suffer epic, drug-fueled, occasionally murderous meltdowns as only a musician is capable of. So Penn Badgley deserves major credit for ambitiously taking on just such a project, joining the ranks of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeff Bridges and Jamie Foxx as he takes on the lead in the musical biopic, “Greetings from Tim Buckley.” And when we sat down with Penn for a chat, he described the experience as not just a challenge, but a total transformation.
Not only did Penn have to hone his musical talents, learning to sing and play the guitar in the style of the legendary Jeff Buckley, but he says that the role changed his own approach to acting as well.
“Creatively, it showed me something through the music, that was specifically in the realm of acting, that was amazing for me,” he explained. “I mean, I was excited about the music, but I actually learned something as an actor.”
And based on Penn’s description (not to mention the transcendent look on his face while he talks about the role), it sounds like we can look forward to the performance of a lifetime from the “Gossip Girl” actor’s first starring feature film role.
“It was a transformative, impossibly beautiful, wonderful experience for me,” he said. “I hope to move forward with something that I can be equally passionate about… but I recognize that will be difficult.”
Are you ready to see Penn giving his all in this tribute to a musical legend? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!