June 21st, 2011
05:39 PM ET
James Franco and Robert Pattinson were rumored to be in the running to portray late singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley, but 24-year-old Penn Badgley was the one to snag the role.
The “Gossip Girl” and “Easy A” actor will star in the film “Greetings from Tim Buckley,” a biopic that will follow Jeff Buckley’s journey up to his famed 1991 performance at a tribute concert for his father. Thanks to a romance with a young woman working at the concert, Buckley comes to understand the father who abandoned him.
Buckley’s mother Mary Guibert, who is overseeing the project, told Australian paper the Sunday Mail that the actor who lands the part "will need a lot of self-discipline because they won't be able to fake it...It's going to take a phenomenal set of skills,” and Badgley seems to understand the pressure.
The actor said in a statement, "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. I'm going to give all I can to this project.”
Producer Patrick Milling Smith added in a statement that after a thorough search, Badgley arrived as the perfect fit.
"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," Smith said. "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 found our star."
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