Tag Archives: Jeff Buckley

Reeve Carney Cast in Second Buckley Biopic

Remember when I said that Reeve Carney should play Jeff Buckley in a biopic? Probably not. But I did actually suggest that casting choice a couple of months ago when Penn Badgley was cast as the late singer in the upcoming film Greetings from Tim Buckley. And today, The Playlist reported that Carney will in fact be portraying Buckley in the second of two competing biopics.

Now, I’m certainly not the first or only person to notice the comparison between Carney and Buckley, so I can’t brag (though I’m going to try anyways). But while I’m not sure if we need one Buckley biopic let alone two, I think Carney is a great choice, at least visually. And since he’s currently toiling away in the ill-fated Spider-Man musical, we know Carney can sing. The only question that remains is whether he’ll have the screen presence to carry an entire film.

While Greetings from Tim Buckley will cover a very short period in Jeff Buckley’s life (the 1991 tribute concert for his late father, Tim), this second, currently untitled project has much broader source material. The Carney vehicle will be adapted from David Browne’s biography Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley, and it will reportedly cover the period between Jeff’s rise to fame and his eventual death in 1997.

The duelling biopics seem to each have their pros and cons. While I think the untitled one has the more fitting star, Greetings from Tim Buckley (which is set to go into production later this month) may have the advantage with a more compact storyline. Neither film has an especially well-known director, but neither is a newbie. Greetings From Tim Buckley will be helmed by Daniel Algrant, whose last feature was 2003’s People I Know, with Al Pachino and Tea Leoni (which is apparently a film that existed). Meanwhile, the Carney-led biopic will be directed by Jake Scott, who brought us last year’s Welcome to the Rileys.

However, this second biopic may have a slight advantage, since Scott will presumably have Buckley’s original music to work with. Greeting from Tim Buckley is set a few years before the release of Jeff Buckley’s first (and only) album, Grace, and that project does not have the rights to Jeff’s music. But this second project will probably see Carney’s taking on tracks from that album. This puts more pressure on Carney, but it also gives him the opportunity to wow with his renditions of some of Buckley’s best-known songs.

I’m still slightly suspicious that both projects will come to fruition, but if so, it should be interesting to see how each one portrays Buckley.

Carney has been all over television promoting Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, so you probably know what his singing voice sound like, but if not, you can check this clip from the musical’s soundtrack to see that he’s very a capable singer. Oh, and if you’d like to see some of my other casting suggestions for musical biopics, I’ll direct you to an older list of suggestions that I made.

Apparently There Are Two Jeff Buckley Films in the Works?

According to Entertainment Weekly, the trend of duelling movie projects continues, and their newest subject is Jeff Buckley.

Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley has reportedly signed on to play the late musician in the film Greetings from Tim Buckley, which is slated to start filming in August. The film will focus on Buckley’s life in 1991, which came well before the release of his lone studio album, Grace, in 1994, and his eventual drowning in 1997. Focusing on the early stages of his career, the film will depict Buckley’s performance at a tribute concert for his late father, Tim, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 28.

A second Buckley-centric project, based on the biography Dream Brother, is also in the works, but has yet to find a star.

It hardly seems coincidental that after years of rumours about a Buckley biopic, there are now two projects gearing up to start production. We’ve seen the same phenomenon recently with the two Snow White films slated for 2012 release (along with a spat of other fairytale updates), and 2005 saw the release of two Truman Capote biopics (Capote and Infamous).

Though I’m not sold on Badgley as the star (I have nothing against the guy, I just don’t really see much similarity between him and Buckley), I like the approach of covering only a small part of a musician’s life in a biopic. It’s a tactic that worked well in last year’s Nowhere Boy (which covering the formation of The Beatles during John Lennon’s teenage years), and it could perhaps work in Greetings from Tim Buckley‘s favour.

Over a year ago, I shared my choices for “8 Biopics That Need to Be Made“. In there, I suggested that James Franco would make a fitting Jeff Buckley. I still think he’d be a good choice, but as well as being a bit on the older side now (At 31, Franco is now slightly older than Buckley was when he died), I feel like Franco’s growing superstardom might be a bit incongruous with Buckley’s much more low-key persona. My current pick for the role is Reeve Carney (who is currently starring in the ill-fated Spider-Man musical). He’s a lot younger, has proven to be a good singer, and looks strikingly like Buckley at some angles. I haven’t seen him in anything, so I can’t vouch for his acting, but he seems like he has the right balance of charisma and enigma. I also think Rocket Science’s Reece Thompson could make for a more interesting, less “suave” Buckley than Badgley.

And then there’s the question as to whether we really need a Buckley biopic (let alone two). He is an amazing musician, but his following is still somewhat limited. A lot of people have never even heard of him, and while these films would almost certainly introduce him to a wider audience, they also run the risk of cashing in on his early death.

8 Biopics That Need to Be Made

The “biopic” seems to be a genre of never-ending possibilities. From politicians to serial killers to the inventor of windshield wipers, it seems like every semi-famous person with a life story worth telling gets the biopic treatment at some point. Here’s look at a few famous people yet to have their lives put to film that deserve the same attention.

Mitch Hedberg

Played by Steve Zahn

Hedberg earned a devoted following for his bizarre, stream-of-consciousness brand of humour (currently, Demitri Martin is pursuing a similar style), but had his career cut tragically short in 2005 from a drug overdose. Zahn not only physically resembles the late comedian, but may be one of the few working actors who is genuinely funny enough to do Hedberg’s material justice.

Jeff Buckley

Played by James Franco

Most famous for his seminal cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Buckley only released one proper album (1994’s Grace) before tragically drowning in 1997. His haunting voice has struck a chord with critics and fans since. Though many are against the idea of making a Buckley biopic, the resemblance between Buckley and Franco is hard to deny. Franco did James Dean justice in the 2001 made-for-TV biopic, and I think that he’d do an equally great job with this enigmatic music hero.

Patti Smith

Played by Charlotte Gainsbourg

With her own musical talent and unconventionally good looks, Gainsbourg seems like a natural choice to play legendary punk Patti Smith. As well as proving her acting chops in I’m Not There and her fearlessness in Antichrist (or so I’ve heard – I’m far too weak-stomached to watch it), Gainsbourg exudes a natural cool that’s essential to pull off Smith’s persona. Maybe it’s something to do with being French?

Nick Drake

Played by Ben Whishaw

The diminutive Whishaw may be a bit short to play Drake (who is said to have been over six feet tall), but Whishaw has the alluring mystery needed to take on this enigmatic folk hero. During his career in the late 1960’s, Drake was a relatively obscure figure, but has since had a resurgence in popularity, long after his death in 1974. Whishaw (I’m Not There, Bright Star) has the kind of “old soul” aura about him that would fit with Drake’s music and mystery.

Jimi Hendrix

Played by Anthony Mackie

Mackie proved his acting chops in last year’s Oscar Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, and he seems like a natural choice to take on this legendary musician. With many of his contemporaries receiving the Hollywood treatment, it seems likely that Jimi’s time will come soon.

Kurt Cobain

Played by Joe Anderson

Whisperings of a Cobain biopic have given bloggers something to speculate about for a couple of years now. Ryan Gosling, James McAvoy, Ewan McGregor (who would’ve been a good choice…ten years ago), and Robert Pattinson (don’t worry, that one apparently isn’t true) have all had their names tossed around, but to me, Anderson seems like the obvious choice. The resemblance is uncanny, and on top of that, he’s the right age, and he proved that he has the vocal chops as Max in 2007’s Across the Universe.

Elliott Smith

Played by Paul Dano

Revered for his hushed, tuneful music, Elliott Smith’s legacy has only grown since his tragic death in 2003. Casting a biopic for this complicated figure would be tricky, but Paul Dano is one name that seems to fit. Thanks to films like Little Miss Sunshine and Gigantic, Dano has quickly become heavily associated with quirky indie films (sometimes to the point of type casting), and his offbeat style would likely suit a Smith biopic well.

Rob Sheffield

Played by Eddie Redmayne

Rock critic Sheffield’s memoir, Love is a Mixtape, chronicles his early adulthood, and the short time that he spent with his wife before her sudden, untimely death. The story could make a great movie, and Redmayne (a recent Tony winner for Reds) not only looks like Sheffield, but has a soulfulness that would serve the story well.