Penn Badgley to play Jeff Buckley in 'Greetings from Tim Buckley'


Image Credit: Wild1/PR Photos; Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

One of the two dueling Jeff Buckley movies has found its leading man: Gossip Girl costar Penn Badgley will play the late singer-songwriter in the biographical drama Greetings from Tim Buckley, producers for the film announced today. The film, which director Dan Algrant (People I Know) will begin shooting in New York in August, focuses on the days leading up to Buckley’s now-famous performance at a tribute concert in honor of his father, Tim Buckley, in Brooklyn in 1991. (Buckley, who is perhaps best known for his bare-bones version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” drowned in Tennessee’s Wolf River in 1997.)

Another Buckley film, based on the biography Dream Brother by former EW music critic David Browne, is also in the works, though no star has been announced. (Robert Pattinson is one of several actors rumored to be in the running.) As for Badgley, he’s definitely got one thing going for him: He’s the same age, 24, as Buckley was in 1991, when the film takes place.

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  • T

    I like that this one is gonna be more about Tim. Been hearing Penn sing on some youtube videos and he can sing

    • Grace

      This is a “unnoficial” biopic that has nothing to do with the project being developed by Director Jake Scott and Jeff Buckley’s mom. As always there is a better film being made with the actual rights to Buckley’s story, while these leeches are sponging off Buckley to do an “unauthorized” biopic, meaning whatever they can show without being sued.

      • Lonnie

        Better film? These sound like two completely different films to me, and quite frankly, I like this approach in Greetings a bit better. Sounds more about the making of a star before the stardom.

    • Christie

      It doesn’t say that the movie is going to be more about Tim Buckley–just that it will lead up to Jeff’s tribute to his father’s music. Jeff barely knew or saw his father who died when he was 9. And Mary Guibert (Jeff’s mother) is apparently allowing this film to use Jeff’s music. Since she controls her son’s music estate, she can’t be all that bothered by another movie bio–‘official’ or otherwise.

  • The Hypnotoad

    Zzzzzzzzzzz. Buckley = one the most overrated singers of the last 25 years. There’s nothing to be proud of when your only good songs are covers & the only reason a majority of people know about you is because you died young.

    • Megan

      Go listen to you country ‘music’ and leave the rest of us alone. Nobody reading this article is interested in your opinion.

      • Jank

        he was a decent singer, but it is not a stretch to say his legacy after his death has been magnified a bit too much.

    • tracy bluth

      You’re kidding, right? His most famous song may have been a cover but his other songs weren’t amazing as well.

    • MikeyNYC

      Since when does dying make one a good musician? In the past, musicians who died tragically tended to be really talented, like Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendri and Janice Joplin, to name just a few. None of their fame was generated by singing a single cover of someone else’s music. I have no idea why someone would equate Jeff Buckley with such stars, let alone merit two biopics.

      • jason8

        Really? No Covers? So Jim Morrison never sang Gloria? Hendrix never sang All Along The Watchtower? I guess Jimi also wrote The Star Spangled Banner. And as for Patsy her biggest hit was written by Willie Nelson and was turned down by another singer before Patsy. And Janis Joplin? Her biggest hit was a cover!! Piece Of My Heart was first done by Erma Franklin in 1967 ! Only Holly wrote his owm material. So the next time you want to make yourself seem so smart you may want to get you facts right.

      • Mark

        MikeyNYC just got served!

      • Monica


      • GHB

        …and Me and Bobby McGee was first done by Kris Kristofferson (who also wrote it)

    • Debbie

      Because mainstream US equals the majority, right? Grace did well in the charts in Europe and Australia, and he toured successfully there.

    • Grace

      Hypnotoad is “praaaouuud tah bee an Americuuuhn…..!”

  • deedeedragons

    Meow! Tell us how you really feel! All glory to the Hypnotoad, i guess.

  • emma

    Why would we need 2 movies about this person’s life?

    • dizzy blonde

      there were 2 movies about Prefontaine too, so why not?

  • imahrtbrkbeat

    I think this is a great move for Penn Badgley (and I am not a Gossip Girl STAN). I’ve been a fan since Easy A, and I’d like to see what he could bring. Good luck, man.

    • Kris

      “I’ve been a fan since Easy A” So basically that means “I’ve been a fan since a few months ago.” I’m sorry but you can’t say “I’ve been a fan since…” until it’s been a full 12 months.

      • imahrtbrkbeat

        Um, yes I can, Kris. I’ve been a fan of his since then…therefore, I look forward to what he will be doing…therefore, yes, I can say that I’ve been a fan of his since…because I don’t care for Gossip Girl. Please, step off and stop trolling. Thanks

      • Forget Linda Barret

        That scene in ‘Easy A’ where Penn suddenly lifts himself out of the pool scared my heart to death! I literally clenched my armrests. He’s too cute, I wasn’t expecting that and my friends still give me sh– about it. I have that signature Buckley album, not a big fan by any means, although I do enjoy it from time to time, but regardless Penn is magnetic and I hope the story gives him some room to expand off of the Easy A pool lift. Whether or not Buckley is worthy of a biopic, Penn deserves a decent project and this one has promise.

      • Kay

        You can, however, say you’ve been a fan since Do Over. Anybody else remember that show? Penn was great on it–pretty young too, if I remember correctly.

  • tracy bluth

    Please do not cast Robert Pattinson as Jeff Buckley.
    It’s such a shame Heath Ledger couldn’t play him…just look up “Heath Ledger sings Hallelujah” on You Tube.

    • Grace

      Not to worry, this is just a crappy side project that doesn’t have the rights to Buckley’s life story. There is a real biopic being developed for the big screen, not straight to DVD.

  • Jen

    He seems like such an extremely interesting person, from interviews I’ve seen. He provides a very profound, and complicated, character to all of the roles he plays. He’s perfect for the role.

    • Miss Talk

      I remember EW had a poll about who will be the most successful actor/actress after Gossip Girl, and I said Penn Badgley. I’m happy to see that I might have got it right. *dougies*

  • Amit

    Glad Penn is getting roles other than GG, which I stopped watching after the first season…

  • jets

    I’m a huge Jeff Buckly fan. I’m thrilled they’re finally making a biopic of his life. After waiting so long, it’s strange that two would come practically at once, but I’m all for it. …Most people wouldn’t know who Lenard Coehn is if Jeff Buckly hadn’t sung his song. Sure part of Jeff’s “popularity” can be attributed to the mystique of wasted potential, rather than real output, But Jeff wrote great songs himself: “Eternal Life,” Life,” “Lover you should have come over,” “Mojo Pin,” “Everyone Around Here Wants You.” He’s in a strange place of both perhaps being over reverenced and simutaneously under appreciated. He definetly had talent, and definely had live worthy of a few films. “Dream Brother” is a really good book also.

    • kat

      You don’t seem like much of a fan since you’re spelling Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen’s names incorrectly.

      • jets


  • Cory

    I really have mixed feelings about this. I’m kind of torn about Penn Badgley as an actor…I really strongly dislike him on Gossip Girl, but I liked him in Easy A, so I don’t know what to think. But regardless, I can’t really picture him as Buckley…but maybe he’ll surprise me.

  • Mark

    I always thought James Franco looked like Jeff Buckley. On another note, why are biographies released in two (Steve Prefontaine).

    • Europa

      Why are there 2 bad teacher movies, one with Cam Diaz and one with Julia Roberts? There is always copying of other people’s homework in Hollywood.

  • Domonique

    I think James Franco should play Jeff Buckley. He looks almost like his twin. Check it out. This guy doesn’t look anything like Jeff.

    • lefty

      I disagree…I think Penn does look like him (although I also think James does too).

  • Erica

    I have to agree that Franco would make a much better Buckley. Maybe he will get the other movie…fingers crossed

  • Cornius Caesar

    Penn Badgley doesn’t look like Matt Dillon does he? I bet he’s sick of hearing that sh!t. He should get his hair cut.

    • Cornius Caesar

      If you look generic you look like a few people okay?

      • Jaderlif


        If they’re gonna do this, I hope it’s good; I’d really prefer they didn’t do this though. Jeff certainly wouldn’t want a film made about him, much less two of them.

  • yoga_girl

    Jeff Buckley was an amazingly talented individual….and its tragic he didn’t live longer… The songs he wrote are wonderful. His second album was just demo versions… and they are amazing.

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