Frank Wood (“Changeling,” “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”) will play songwriter and Jeff Buckley collaborator Gary Lucas in the indie biopic “Greetings From Tim Buckley,” which begins shooting today in New York.
Penn Badgley (“Gossip Girl”) has already been cast as Tim Buckley’s son Jeff, whose 1991 debut performance at his father’s tribute concert at St. Ann’s church is considered the springboard to his own fleeting music career, cut short when he drowned in 1997. Imogen Poots had also been set for the pic, which will center on the days leading up to that concert; Broadway thesp Ben Rosenfield is set as the title character.
Cast also includes Norbert Leo Butz and Jessica Stone as concert producers Hal Wilner and Janine Nichols; Bill Sadler as guitarist Lee Underwood; Frank Bello (member of the thrash-metal band Anthrax) as punk music/fashion innovator Richard Hell, and U.K. pop star Kate Nash. Dan Algrant (“People I Know,” “Naked in New York”) is directing from a script he co-wrote with Emma Sheanshang and David Brendel. Patrick Milling Smith, John N. Hart and Fred Zollo are producing.
Pic is one of three rival projects centering on Buckley’s life. Mad Bastards is putting together a movie based on the book “A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley,” with Brendan Fletcher directing.
In addition, Jake Scott is helming an untitled Jeff Buckley biopic starring “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” star Reeve Carney, with a November shoot scheduled. Project boasts rights to the singer’s music and personal archives, the use of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and the blessing of Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert, who is also exec producing.
But “Greetings” has its own pedigree — in addition to music rights from the Buckley estate, the production has Lucas, the Grammy-nominated songwriter who co-wrote “Grace” and “Mojo Pin” with Buckley, playing and rehearsing with Badgley as a consultant. Additionally, Wilner and Nichols, who produced the original Tim Buckley tribute concert, are also organizing a recreation of the St. Ann’s concert that will be filmed at the original venue.