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Reeve Carney to play Jeff Buckley in Jake Scott-helmed biopic

August 16, 2011 |  3:04 pm

Reeve carney 1

As another week in the ongoing saga of the Jeff Buckley movie frenzy continues, news broke Tuesday that the lead role in the Jake Scott-directed, untitled film about the late singer-songwriter has been filled by actor Reeve Carney, who plays the lead in Broadway’s "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." 

A couple of months ago, confusion arose as to who would be playing Buckley in Scott's biopic when it was announced that "Gossip Girl" star Penn Badgley would be taking the part in another Buckley flick, “Greetings From Tim Buckley,“ which follows the "Last Goodbye" singer through the events that lead up to his pivotal performance at the East Village memorial concert for his father, folk star Tim Buckley.

(There's also a third Buckley film in the works coming out of Australia called "A Pure Drop," based on the book "A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley," written by Jeff Apter. One major factor separating the Scott-directed film from the others is its exclusive rights to Buckley’s music catalog.)

In the works since at least 2006,the Scott film has a leg up on the others: Jeff Buckley's mother, Mary Guibert, is one of the film’s producers and owns the rights to her late son's work. The film also has been granted rights to use Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which Jeff Buckley helped make famous when he recorded it for his album "Grace."

Carney will sing the songs as Buckley in the film, which may not be a problem considering he already fronts his own indie rock band, Carney. Check out this South By Southwest performance of the band’s song “Love Me Chase Me.” Does he have the pipes? What about the look? Let us know what you think.

Carney-- "Love Me Chase Me"


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[Updated, Aug. 16 3:21 p.m.: Co-producer Orian Williams confirmed Tuesday that Carney was cast last week to play Buckley in the film, and said that finding the central character of the film has allowed the project to prepare to start shooting in November.

Williams said he first met Carney two years ago, and had kept him in mind for the film ever since.

“Reeve came to us through various sources, including friends and other people we knew,” Williams said. “He was always someone we had on radar, but it wasn’t until Mary [Guibert] met him, and Jake Scott, that it really made sense.” Williams said Guibert spent time with Carney, watched him perform and got to know his personality.

Despite the fact that Carney’s profile has been significantly elevated due to his role in the Spider-Man production, Williams believes Carney will make a convincing Buckley.

“He’s proved he can perform, captivate an audience and act and sing,” Williams said. “There’s so many things about Jeff’s life that were not just music. He lived he loved and had a soul, and Reeve is in that same place in his life right now.”

Now that the lead is settled, the production will begin casting supporting characters. Source material for the film includes writings in Jeff’s private journals and interviews with friends and loved ones.]

-- Nate Jackson

Photo: Reeve Carney attends "Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark" Broadway opening night at Foxwoods Theatre on June 14, 2011 in New York City.  Credit: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images