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Jeff Buckley Biopic Moving Forward With Jake Scott Directing, Fall Start Planned

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 8, 2011 8:49 AM
26 Comments
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After a long time in development with lots of lead actor rumors that were never close to being true, a biopic on celebrated singer Jeff Buckley is now moving ahead.

Jake Scott, progeny of Ridley, is now set to helm the picture. And if you're wondering, "Who's Jake Scott?" you've likely seen the music videos he's done for Cypress Hill, Tori Amos, U2, The Cranberries and probably most famously, "Everybody Hurts" for R.E.M. More recently, he was behind the camera for "Welcome to the Rileys," the Kristen Stewart and James Gandolfini drama that played to good reviews.

If you don't know the story of Jeff Buckley, you must have been living under a rock or not born in the 1990s (in which case, you're forgiven). But essentially, Buckley generated huge buzz in New York City playing clubs around town, singing songs in a variety of genres and styles, landing him a record deal. He released his first and only complete album, "Grace," in 1994, and while it wasn't a chart topper, it was a critical smash. Buckley toured relentlessly and in 1996 started working on his followup "Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk," recorded in various sessions as he workshopped the material with live performances both with a band and solo. Unfortunately, he would die tragically in the spring of 1997 when, while swimming in the Wolf River Harbor, he would be pulled under by the wake of a boat and drowned.

The film will use David Browne's book "Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley," as a resource and will have a script by Ryan Jaffe ("The Rocker") with full access to Buckley's catalog of music. The plan is to mount the picture this fall -- so let the casting speculation begin! And how much you want to bet the film will end with "Hallelujah" over the credits? [Deadline]

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More: Musicians, Jake Scott, Jeff Buckley

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26 Comments

  • rob | August 11, 2011 9:07 AMReply

    The prospective actor's ability to sing should have no bearing on whether or not he gets the role, unless there's some off chance that the actor has the greatest rock n' roll voice of all time. It's like saying Will Smith would've needed boxing experience before he could've portrayed Muhammed Ali. Ridiculous. Buckley was one of the top 5 greatest rock singers of all time, if not one of the top 5 best across the board. They won't be using anything other than Buckley's actual vocal tracks regardless.

  • Stanley7728 | May 19, 2011 3:49 AMReply

    Patrick Hivon, a canadian actor... Look at him on Google...

  • Jill | April 16, 2011 4:35 AMReply

    through further investigation, looking up all the people you all have mentioned as possible leads, i choose Ben Wishaw. Something about him. He looks like he has the stillness Jeff had.

  • Jill | April 16, 2011 4:23 AMReply

    I think Billy Crudup would be nice.

  • Edward Davis | April 11, 2011 2:25 AMReply

    i just heard Michael Wincott was offered the role. Amazing.

  • Paul | April 11, 2011 2:17 AMReply

    Wincott is too old.

  • Sasha | April 10, 2011 8:56 AMReply

    WinCott would be my pick too

  • Paul | April 10, 2011 5:11 AMReply

    I love "Grace," but there's definitely a Cult of Jeff Buckley. The presumption of infallibility irks me. He released ONE great album and we somehow forget that he had just as much potential to start sucking as any of his contemporaries. He just had the dubious good fortune to go out on a high note.

    This of course translates into the unfounded idea that "that kid from Twilight" can't do the role justice. Judging Pattinson on Twilight alone is stupid and shortsighted. I don't care for the whole Twilight "thing" myself, but the dude is a decent actor and he can certainly sing.

    Kevin is half right. Without an actor with proven vocal talent (yes, like Robert Pattinson), the role is likely to include a lot of lip-syncing. But how freakin' great would it be if the performance included the total package?

    Personally, despite Gordon-Levitt being a pretty great actor, I don't think he looks enough like Jeff Buckley to play the role. Then again, Joaquin Phoenix doesn't look anything like Johnny Cash...

  • cirkusfolk | April 10, 2011 4:00 AMReply

    Everyone knows this role belongs to Michael Wincott...end of discussion!

  • dulce | April 10, 2011 3:10 AMReply

    Where I would LOVE to see Rob Pattinson do this, I must admit the idea of Ben Wishaw playing Buckley is VERY interesting...Joseph Gordon-Levitt could be good too....just NOT James Franco, please.

  • littlesuzie | April 10, 2011 2:26 AMReply

    The only person that can play Jeff Buckley is James Franco. James can also play the guitar but can he sing probably not. However, he's a good enough actor that he could convince anyone that he can in a movie.

    He was on fire playing James Dean, Allen Ginsberg and Aron Ralston. He specializes in this field so the best choice.

    I respect Jeff Buckley music way too much for it to go to Rob Pattinson. If Rob get's it, I will not be watching. The man can't act and not in the league as James Franco and I haven't got years to wait.

    If not James Franco then unknown actor who may surprise in his first time outing.

    Yes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great choice too but he doesn't have the look or mannerisms that James Franco has. Basically, that's half the work done already.

    I hope James says yes, and makes the time to do this.

    This man deserves a brilliant biopic made about him whatever happens.

  • Kate | April 9, 2011 10:16 AMReply

    I was totally thinking Ben Whishaw...he has the look, he's proven the talent (in my opinion). I don't think anyone too recognizable would be a good fit for a biopic of the greatJeff Buckley.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | April 9, 2011 6:52 AMReply

    The idea of James Franco taking the role after hearing him "sing" in "Your Highness" is kind of amusing.

    Also, this movie is going to be a total lipsync job so it doesn't matter if the actor has singing talent -- they just need a pretty face.

  • Tori | April 9, 2011 4:14 AMReply

    How about this dude Mark Rendall. Kind of young, but the resemblance is uncanny.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0719321/

    And he's a pretty good actor from what I've seen him in.

  • Eliza | April 9, 2011 2:55 AMReply

    Ben Whishaw anyone? He's definitely got the chops, and he's got the sensitive rock star look down. Whoever it is better not do the singing, Buckley's voice is too perfect for someone to try to imitate. I will never forgive Kevin Spacey for doing Bobby Darin's songs himself.

  • DanielF23 | April 9, 2011 1:41 AMReply

    WELCOME TO THE RILEYS did not exactly play to good reviews; it made Entertainment Weekly's Worst Films of 2010 list.

  • Jess | April 8, 2011 11:52 AMReply

    Well love him or hate him but Robert Pattinson has a great music talent. (acting well, we all know Twilight is not good best material to show your talent, don't judge him quickly) He can play piano,guitar etc. I would love to see him in this role.
    Josep G. Levitt would be great too.

  • femroc | April 8, 2011 11:51 AMReply

    James Franco can't sing Happy Birthday in tune - he might look like him but he's too old and can't sing.

    Let Rob Pattinson try it........his voice isn't as pure as Buckley, it is more raspy and strained but he's talented enough to be trained and he has the passion for sure. His millions of fans would LOVE to see him do something musical and combine acting with it too..........wow, that would be awesome.

  • Mary | April 8, 2011 11:33 AMReply

    Joseph Gordon Levitt & Robert Pattinson can play guitar & sing any of them would be perfect for the role.

  • MVP | April 8, 2011 11:05 AMReply

    Robert Pattinson causes throw up in my mouth. Everyone would sing Hallelujah when it's over. Oscars not Razzies.

  • kris | April 8, 2011 11:00 AMReply

    if franco gets the part it would be great when he make the biopic he really cares...

  • MC | April 8, 2011 10:46 AMReply

    James Franco is the spitting image, but can he play the guitar and sing, Robert Pattinson would be great for this part, he has said in the past that Buckley has been one of his musical influences and would love to play him. plus he plays piano and guitar and can sing, like really well.

  • Alex | April 8, 2011 10:31 AMReply

    Joseph Gordon-Levittt, is perfect to play Buckley. But... if Franco wants it, Franco gets it...

  • Dina | April 8, 2011 9:58 AMReply

    Please, not James Franco. Let him stay in academia and if it has to go to a "name" why not Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Spread the tragically beautiful lost soul roles around because the cult of Franco is better than the reality of him.

  • Alex | April 8, 2011 9:52 AMReply

    A little tired of Franco being everywhere, let's give new faces a chance. Unknow actors like Sam Riley who rocked in Control.

  • rodie | April 8, 2011 9:46 AMReply

    One can only hope James Franco has the time. He would be perfect.

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