Remember when I said that Reeve Carney should play Jeff Buckley in a biopic? Probably not. But I did actually suggest that casting choice a couple of months ago when Penn Badgley was cast as the late singer in the upcoming film Greetings from Tim Buckley. And today, The Playlist reported that Carney will in fact be portraying Buckley in the second of two competing biopics.
Now, I’m certainly not the first or only person to notice the comparison between Carney and Buckley, so I can’t brag (though I’m going to try anyways). But while I’m not sure if we need one Buckley biopic let alone two, I think Carney is a great choice, at least visually. And since he’s currently toiling away in the ill-fated Spider-Man musical, we know Carney can sing. The only question that remains is whether he’ll have the screen presence to carry an entire film.
While Greetings from Tim Buckley will cover a very short period in Jeff Buckley’s life (the 1991 tribute concert for his late father, Tim), this second, currently untitled project has much broader source material. The Carney vehicle will be adapted from David Browne’s biography Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley, and it will reportedly cover the period between Jeff’s rise to fame and his eventual death in 1997.
The duelling biopics seem to each have their pros and cons. While I think the untitled one has the more fitting star, Greetings from Tim Buckley (which is set to go into production later this month) may have the advantage with a more compact storyline. Neither film has an especially well-known director, but neither is a newbie. Greetings From Tim Buckley will be helmed by Daniel Algrant, whose last feature was 2003’s People I Know, with Al Pachino and Tea Leoni (which is apparently a film that existed). Meanwhile, the Carney-led biopic will be directed by Jake Scott, who brought us last year’s Welcome to the Rileys.
However, this second biopic may have a slight advantage, since Scott will presumably have Buckley’s original music to work with. Greeting from Tim Buckley is set a few years before the release of Jeff Buckley’s first (and only) album, Grace, and that project does not have the rights to Jeff’s music. But this second project will probably see Carney’s taking on tracks from that album. This puts more pressure on Carney, but it also gives him the opportunity to wow with his renditions of some of Buckley’s best-known songs.
I’m still slightly suspicious that both projects will come to fruition, but if so, it should be interesting to see how each one portrays Buckley.
Carney has been all over television promoting Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, so you probably know what his singing voice sound like, but if not, you can check this clip from the musical’s soundtrack to see that he’s very a capable singer. Oh, and if you’d like to see some of my other casting suggestions for musical biopics, I’ll direct you to an older list of suggestions that I made.