Photo Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic;Mick Hutson/Redferns
Penn Badgley certainly has the hair to play late singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley -- but does he have the voice? We'll soon find out: According to Entertainment Weekly, Gossip Girl star Badgley, 24, has been tapped to portray the "Hallelujah" and "Last Goodbye" singer in the upcoming biographical drama Greetings from Tim Buckley.
The film, which director Dan Algrant (People I Know) will begin shooting in New York City in August, follows Buckley in the days leading up to his now-legendary performance at a tribute concert for his father, singer Tim Buckley, in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1991.
Buckley is perhaps best known for his captivating rendition of Leonard Cohen's moving ballad "Hallelujah," with many fans arguing that Buckley's is the definitive version of the oft-covered song. But Buckley is also famous for a much more tragic reason: He drowned in 1997 at the age of 30 after going for an impromptu nighttime swim in Tennessee's Wolf River Harbor. His debut album Grace had already won critical praise at the time, and he was at work on a second record that would never be completed.
Ironically, it wasn't until after his death that he achieved his greatest success, with his take on "Hallelujah" claiming the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 100 in 2008 -- a full 11 years after his death.
Appearance-wise, Badgley seems an ideal choice to play the beloved singer. He's got the same thick, unruly hair and scruffy good looks. As for that voice, Badgley actually pursued a singing career when he first moved to Hollywood in his tweens -- and even recorded a pop single in 1998 (good luck trying to find it on YouTube, though). All in all, this casting is sounding better and better every minute.
If you prefer Twilight to Gossip Girl, however, we've got some good news. Robert Pattinson is rumored to be up for the lead in another Jeff Buckley film, a biopic based on EW music critic David Browne's biographer Dream Brother. Two Buckley films on the horizon? The word you're looking for is: "hallelujah!"