A new director for the official Jeff Buckley film, while Reeve Carney may be replaced. Meanwhile, director of 'Greetings from Tim Buckley,' says Penn Badgley saved the film.
At one point this summer, the officially-sanctioned Jeff Buckley biopic "Mystery White Boy" was supposed to be shooting with "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" star Reeve Carney in the lead and Jake Scott directing, with Gemma Arterton, Olivia Thirlby, Harry Treadaway and Patricia Arquette all lining up for roles. And then...nothing. Well, it appears that not only has a new director come on board, but the project may also be looking for a new lead.
Over at Showbiz 411, Roger Friedman has dropped a pretty vague report revealing that "West Of Memphis" helmer Amy Berg is now in the director's chair, with claims that she "Bogarted" the job from Scott. What that exactly means we're not sure, but apparently she's a big fan of Buckley. As for Carney, he "could be out" but again, it's not clear why. Either way, Berg has been on a bit of a roll following her very well-received West Memphis Three doc; she also signed on to direct the thriller "Every Secret Thing" over the summer.
Penned by Ryan Jaffe ("The Rocker"), who used David Browne's book "Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley" to help shape the story, the film will not only chronicle the tale of the rocker who tragically died just as his career was about to explode into the stratosphere, but it will also have access to his catalog of music. But as many folks already know, there is another movie that just hit TIFF about the singer as well: "Greetings From Tim Buckley."
Our review is coming soon, but we will say that Penn Badgley (who Friedman notes he met outside of a Shake Shack once, for some reason) is very solid in the role, delivering a surprisingly strong approximation of Buckley's voice. It's a nice turn. And while that film is also a look at his father's life, it restricts the story to the events leading up to Jeff Buckley's performance at the tribute concert for his father Tim, still doing an adequate job paying tribute to both father and son.
As for "Mystery White Boy," we'll see where it goes. Undoubtedly, Berg knows how to bring real lives to the big screen, so it's in good hands. But how it moves forward from here is anyone's guess.
The film, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, stars Ben Rosenfield and Penn Badgley as Tim and Jeff Buckley, the father and son musicians whose lives were both tragically cut short at young ages, Tim at 28 and son Jeff at 30. It tells a fictionalized account of their lives leading up to the real life tribute concert Jeff played for his father in 1991.
"We didn't know how to make this film work. How to make this film about this young boy and his father who never really spent any time together and yet Jeff was so involved in the legacy he was following," says Algrant, who also co-wrote the script with David Brendel and Emma Sheanshang.
Algrant admits to almost scrapping the idea for the movie but decided to go forward after seeing Badgley's audition tape. "If I really realized how much of a challenge it was gonna be, I wouldn't have embarked on it, honestly," says the director. "There was no point. I was really searching for months and months. I got lucky."
After hearing such high praise from his director, Badgley reveals how tough of a challenge it was for him to channel Jeff Buckley in the film.
"It was daunting," admits the Gossip Girl actor. "I was nervous as hell and I knew nobody thought I could do it. There are parts of Jeff I can’t emulate at all and wouldn’t want to try."
Algrant says the real beauty of this film can be found in Jeff Buckley's journey as he discovers himself through his father's music.
"The idea of a son finding himself through the words of his father just sounds compelling," says Algrant.
REVIEW of the film
TRAILER FOR THE FILM (can't embed)