Actor/musician Reeve Carney (Snow Falling on Cedars) has signed on to play Jeff Buckley in director Jake Scott’s (Welcome to the Rileys) untitled biopic. Per the press release, the pic will chronicle Buckley’s life all the way up to his untimely drowning at the age of 30 in Memphis’ Wolf River. The film was written by Ryan Jaffe (The Rocker) and draws heavily from David Browne’s book Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley. Currently, Carney is playing the role of Peter Parker in Julie Taymor’s mildly cursed Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Previously, the actor worked with Taymor on her adaptation of The Tempest starring Helen Mirren.
This film iteration of Buckley’s life joins two other projects that are set to chronicle the late musician. Back in June, Penn Badgley signed on to play Buckley in co-writer/director Dan Algrant’s Greetings from Tim Buckley. That film is set to begin production in Brooklyn this week. Additionally, director Brendan Fletcher is developing a film based on the book A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley. Unlike the other two films, though, Scott’s owns the exclusive rights to Buckley’s music and personal archives and is being executive produced by Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert. For more on the project, hit the jump to read the full press release.
Here’s the press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA (AUGUST 15TH, 2011) – Actor/singer-songwriter Reeve Carney (Broadway’s Spiderman: Turn off the Dark) has been cast as Jeff Buckley in the forthcoming “Untitled Jeff Buckley” film, it was announced today by the filmmakers. To be directed by Jake Scott (Welcome to the Rileys), and written by Ryan Jaffe (story by, The Rocker), the filmmakers hold a robust rights package that includes the exclusive rights to Jeff’s music and personal archives, and is fully supported by Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert, who serves as executive producer. Michelle Sy (Finding Neverland) and Orian Williams (Control) are producing, with Alison Raykovich (Jeff Buckley Music) serving as associate producer. Producers are currently out to additional cast for the project.
The film will chronicle the life of Buckley, one of the most critically acclaimed musical artists of his time, who died tragically at age 30 in a drowning accident in Memphis, Tennessee’s Wolf River. Production will commence in New York and Memphis in November.
Carney currently stars on Broadway as Peter Parker in the high profile production of Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. Reeve also co-starred in Julie Taymor’s THE TEMPEST for Miramax. His current single, “Rise Above 1 featuring Bono and The Edge” (Music From SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark), was performed by the trio on the season finale of American Idol this year. In addition, Reeve and his band Carney opened for U2 on the last stop of the U2 360° tour. Their debut album Mr. Green Vol. 1 is available on DAS Label/Interscope.
“We are over the moon that Reeve has agreed to take on this challenging role. I’ve seen him perform several times…he’s been getting ready for this all his life. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he looks so much like Jeff,” said Guibert regarding the choice.
Scott commented, “We are excited to have found in Reeve the perfect combination of musical prodigy, impish charm, innate intelligence & sensitivity to play Jeff.”
The as-yet untitled script is based on screenwriter Jaffe’s in-depth examination and research into Buckley’s life, which includes scores of interviews, unlimited access to the Jeff Buckley Estate archives, and Jeff’s personal journals, drawings, and letters. Producers also optioned the book “Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley” by David Browne, for research purposes.
Buckley’s only studio release during his lifetime was the widely acclaimed album Grace, which includes his legendary interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and is acknowledged by critics as a modern classic. His momentous posthumous album, Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal for the song “Everybody Here Wants You.” Captivated by the world of music, Buckley lived and breathed it until the last moments of his life. He had said, “I was captured by music at a really early age…It was my mother, it was my father, it was my plaything, my toy. The best thing in my life.”
Reeve is represented by Paradigm and David Sonenberg for DAS Communications, Ltd.