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Hallelujah! Jake Scott To Direct Jeff Buckley Biopic

Nordling here.

(And yes, I'm aware "Hallelujah" is a Leonard Cohen song.  But Jeff Buckley's rendition of it is probably the most well known version.)

Deadline is reporting that Jake Scott, son of Ridley Scott and director of WELCOME TO THE RILEYS and multiple music videos featuring the likes of R.E.M., Radiohead, and Smashing Pumpkins, will direct a film based on the life of Jeff Buckley.  Buckley was the son of 1960s singer Tim Buckley.  Buckley's album GRACE is considered one of the most influential albums of the 1990s, but unfortunately Buckley didn't live to see its success, having drowned in Wolf River Harbor in Tennessee in 1997.

His music has been a major influence on many bands since then.  GRACE is still a hell of an album.  Likely everyone will link to a video of "Hallelujah" but I'd rather link to one of his original songs:

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 8, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST

    It will be james franco. cut, print, check the gate.

    by AzulTool

  • April 8, 2011, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Last Goodbye

    by ZooTrain

    I'd say that John Cale's version is the most recognized if for no other reason than for Scrubs and Shrek.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Awesome! No, wait...

    by StarWarsRedux

    I've never heard of this guy and don't care.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Does sort of look like James Franco

    by jrb

  • April 8, 2011, 5:11 p.m. CST


    by film-fanatic

    This has been in the works for years. Glad to see that the film will finally get off the ground. I wonder what happened with Brian Jun (orginal screenwriter/director)? Probably not enough clout to get the film made.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:12 p.m. CST


    by schadenfreudian

    I think you're thinking of Hallelujah

  • April 8, 2011, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Well, that makes you an asshole starwarsredux...

    by Skyway Moaters

  • April 8, 2011, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Are you a troll starwarsredux?

    by Skyway Moaters

  • April 8, 2011, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Brad Pitt wanted to do this in the '90s...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...but Buckley's mommy wouldn't let him.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:18 p.m. CST

    It'll be Franco and he'll be nominated for Best Actor

    by Andy Pandy

    because the Academy loves dead musician biopics!!

  • April 8, 2011, 5:20 p.m. CST


    by b15fliptop

    As a huge Jeff Buckley fan, I think Jason Ritter would be an excellent choice.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:43 p.m. CST


    by ZooTrain

    I AM thinking of Hallelujah. However, since the talkback is about Jeff Buckley, I just titled it "Last Goodbye." That was my mistake for being unclear.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:44 p.m. CST


    by ZooTrain

    Have you been in a bubble for the last 17 years?

  • April 8, 2011, 5:46 p.m. CST


    by schadenfreudian


  • April 8, 2011, 5:47 p.m. CST

    As long as we're talking about Jeff Buckley

    by schadenfreudian

    if you wanna have a good time in the sack with someone you love, put Everybody Here Loves You on the iPod player, dim the lights, and let nature takes its course. Goddamn, is that a baby-maker...

  • April 8, 2011, 5:54 p.m. CST


    by PreciousRoy

    Anybody can make a Jeff Buckley movie. Hell, I could make it with my chihuahua as Jeff and a Mego Isis as Rebecca Moore. Oscar stuff. Can they get the rights to his music, does it have his mother's blessing? If not, it's kind of pointless, like a Marvin Gaye biopic with new songs written because they have no rights to his actual music...

  • April 8, 2011, 6:12 p.m. CST


    by TDH1138

    I saw Buckley at the TLA in Philly not long after GRACE came out. Amazing. This is a Bio-Pic I've wanted to see for a long, long time. I vote for Franco... he could even play his Father in flashback, who died not unlike his son, well before his time.

  • April 8, 2011, 6:14 p.m. CST

    OH, battle_royal_with_cheese...

    by TDH1138

    Never truer words have been spoken. the girl I dated before I met my wife INSISTED on it being on and yea... it was BEYOND appropriate.

  • April 8, 2011, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Maybe its going to be a murder mystery

    by Detective_Fingerling

    Based loosely on Buckley's life? Perhaps a new spin on Friday the 13th?

  • April 8, 2011, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Joseph Gordon-levitt could do it

    by Mark

  • April 8, 2011, 6:40 p.m. CST

    by laoi

    sweet jebus a man with intelligence, Andrew Garfield would be amazing for this,,,,,,AMAZING

  • April 8, 2011, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Glug glug..........

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Hopefully a Michael Bayesque drowning scene.

  • April 8, 2011, 6:56 p.m. CST

    No to trolldom and rockdom

    by StarWarsRedux

    I just don't pay attention to music, so I wouldn't know Buckley from Buckminster Fuller. And now that I know who he is, and remember his music, I can safely say... <p> <p>...I still don't give a shit. <p> <p>And I'd very much rather see a movie about Buckminster Fuller, come to think of it.

  • April 8, 2011, 7:13 p.m. CST

    I was thinking Keith Whitley

    by deelzbub

    wrong dead musician

  • April 8, 2011, 7:30 p.m. CST

    @bomark My first thought as well

    by ltgalloway

    Joseph Gordon Levitt all the way.

  • April 8, 2011, 8:22 p.m. CST

    Who might play Jeff...

    by Outrider304

    He's an unknown actor, so they'd have to vet his stage chops, but this guy is a dead ringer in terms of looks and musical imitation. He has the voice, which with Jeff is exceedingly hard to pull of since he could go through three octaves with ease. At minimum he can pull off the stage performances. Damon Daunno

  • April 8, 2011, 9:04 p.m. CST


    by MagicJesus

    went to high school with Jeff. Senior follies, he played spirit of radio (by rush, for the retarded), and nailed the guitar....we were all, fuuuuuuuuuuuhhhh ck

  • In all seriousness, there are many that have tragically died before their time when many have already been exposed to their greatness, such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Kurt Cobain, Derrick Thomas, Payne Stewart and Dale Earnhardt. However, I have always found it significantly more heartbreaking in considering the stories of Jeff Buckley, Keith Whitley, Otis Redding and Len Bias. Those who were taken from the world before the full potential of their brilliance was realized; before many had the opportunity to know their genius; and that they were revered by many only after their death.

  • April 8, 2011, 9:27 p.m. CST

    brilliant singer still missed

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    have introduced Jeff Buckley and Grace (the albulm) to many people and all are amazed by his voice and all want to know what they are doing now

  • April 8, 2011, 9:34 p.m. CST

    No male vocalists like him left...

    by Hudson Cock

    on Earth. Hope they do him justice. Rock movies nowadays are hit or miss. The Runaways anyone? It was kinda bad.

  • April 8, 2011, 9:49 p.m. CST

    nice to see sincerity here

    by VoiceOfSaruman

    AICN talkbacks are always good for a snarky laugh but Buckley was the real deal, nice to see at least a few people showing respect. And to anyone saying they don't give a shit, well a lot more people give a shit about Jeff Buckley at any given moment than anyone will ever give a shit about you.

  • April 8, 2011, 10:48 p.m. CST

    I'd rather see a Tim Buckley biopic

    by Life Proof

    Seriously...dude had a WAY more interesting life. Not to mention far superior music.

  • April 9, 2011, 12:52 a.m. CST

    Franco would have been great in the role 8 years ago.

    by AnnoyYou

    He's a little too old now. They'd have to do a lot of digital work on his face for the young Buckley bits. I think Gordon-Levitt or Garfield would be great - Yelchin is a bit too weedy and lightweight. Still, I'll bet the role will go to Franco.

  • April 9, 2011, 1:37 a.m. CST

    right, like Franco would ever play a gay character...

    by BadMrWonka

    keep dreaming, guys! on a serious note, I love Buckley, but I wonder what a biopic would focus on. his story kind of ended before the 3rd act. I mean, imagine Kurt Cobain or Jimi Hendrix dying like 3 years earlier than they did. where's the story? his death is just so depressing, I'm not sure I want to see a movie about it. but I know I will.

  • April 9, 2011, 2:08 a.m. CST

    can't wait.

    by BDCreeper

    I've been waiting for this movie forever. "Lover You Should Have Come Over" is one of my most favorite songs of all time. Huge Buckley fan :D

  • April 9, 2011, 4:48 a.m. CST

    This is great news to wake up to

    by HelmetBoy

    Jeff Buckley is simply the greatest singer I've ever heard

  • April 9, 2011, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Starwarsredux: "I just don't pay attention to music"

    by Monkey Butler

    That's just about the dumbest thing I've read on these talkbacks. Straight up. There's been shit that didn't make sense, shit that offended me, shit that I just plain didn't agree with, and your statement is right up there with the worst things ever posted on AICN. Congratulations, I guess. <p> Seriously, what kind of soulless, joyless motherfucker 'doesn't pay attention' to music? It's just about the oldest cultural institution on this planet. You might as well say "I don't really like stories" or "colour doesn't really mean much to me". You are less of a person for not "paying attention" to music.

  • April 9, 2011, 9:10 a.m. CST

    She IS on board!

    by PreciousRoy

    Cheese and crackers! Mary Guibert is Exec Producing this... so there will be Jeff's music in it... thank goodness! Would have sucked to have someone just buy the rights to Cohen's Hallelujah and make it seem like that's the only song Jeff ever sang. One of my fears when Brad Pitt was contemplating a biopic... Guibert 'dissuaded' him. I worry about the angsty-ness of the story. They optioned Dream Brother, and I hope that's the take on it they use... Jeff and his complicated relationship with a father he knew more from his music then actual time spent together... the parallels and contradictions... very satisfying read. Every time VH1 uses Hallelujah in a "Behind the Music" death segment, I think Jeff rolls a little in his grave. From what Dream Brother indicated, he hated that, the sentimentality and the hero worship of a dead rocker. I just hope they don't try to make him Saint Jeff. Buckley was an amazing talent, but he wasn't perfect, and would not want to be remembered (or discovered) with rose-colored glasses. I hope they don't gloss over things like his signing or the tribute concert that launched him or his romantic entanglements. As for casting... Back before Spider-Man, I thought Franco was perfect for Jeff... hell, his Harry Osbourne could qualify as a Jeff Buckley audition... now, he'd be perfect for Tim in his last days. I'm a bit surprised to say this, but I love some of the names I've heard for Jeff in this Talkback, like Yelchin and Gordon-Levitt.

  • April 9, 2011, 9:11 a.m. CST

    look forward to it.

    by ComSamVimes

    I was in a band with a guy who just would not shut up about Jeff Buckley. It was just so constant. He insisited that we do everythign the way he would have done...and from the little I knew about him and his music, seemed to miss the point of the imense creativity behind Jeff Buckley's work. I really like him too but I think that whole thing kindfof ruined it for me. It's been a few years since I had to listen to the crazy ravings. I am looking forward to the story beihind it tho.

  • April 9, 2011, 9:58 a.m. CST

    James Ransone

    by Matt

    Okay so I'm a huge Jeff Buckley fan(hence the username) but since watching the genius that is The Wire have always thought James Ransone was a dead-ringer for Buckley. The fact that he's not only an incredible actor and according to imdb played bass in a metal band in NYC maybe he'd know his way around a "stage." I also like the other actor suggestions but I still stick by mine as an early personal favorite.

  • April 9, 2011, 11:14 a.m. CST


    by Shaner Jedi

    the reason youve never heard of him is he unfortunately died well before his time. Go check out his version of Cohen's Hallelujah. He makes you feel the words. Great artist. His covers are great and his originals showed great potential. RIP Buckley

  • April 9, 2011, 11:18 a.m. CST


    by Shaner Jedi

    wow did you just mention Keith Whitley? Now there was a guy who had the potential to bring back some of the soul and authenticity to country music.

  • April 9, 2011, 1:03 p.m. CST

    What a concentrated amount of SUCK

    by rob5d4


  • April 9, 2011, 1:18 p.m. CST

    The only person that can do justice to the role is

    by noiretblanc

    a non-actor; a musician. That person is Jimmy Gnecco.

  • April 9, 2011, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Love Jeff but we don't need a movie.

    by phifty2

    Just listen to Grace.

  • April 9, 2011, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Everyone's talking about potential actor's...

    by GWARHOL

    But nobody's talking about the fact that a shit director is at the helm. This is not good news.

  • Song To the Siren, other greats too.

  • April 9, 2011, 8:21 p.m. CST

    anyone remember this Dead Zone episode

    by oisin5199

    with Ben Foster as this singer who never met his dead dad singer, that tries to commit suicide by driving his car off a cliff? Anthony Michael Hall was reportedly a huge Jeff Buckley fan and even used one of his songs for the credit sequence the first few years. which is weird because I had a friend who said she knew Buckley's family and that the river story was made up and that he actually drove off a cliff. So I don't know if the Dead Zone knew something, or what.... But yeah, this is the 90s singer death that should have rocked the world, not fucking Kurt Cobain. What Jeff could have done had he continued.... truly sad. would love to see a good biopic.

  • April 10, 2011, 2:25 a.m. CST

    KRIS LEMCHE!!! (If anyone)

    by benito

    My bonafides: Jeff Buckley is a huge deal to me. I first heard him when I was about twelve years old and it was genuinely a turning point in my life. It was the moment that turned me on not just to music, but to my own emotional, philosophical and artistic potential. I know that seems trite, but it was the first thing (maybe along with Radiohead's "The Bends") that I understood and valued and adored as my 'adult' self. His music was and is absolutely beautiful, and through my teenage years Jeff was my hero. I'm twenty eight now and I still feel like the guy was my big brother growing up. It's absolutely amazing to hear people here saying James Franco could pull this off. That would be HORRENDOUS. Joseph Gordon Levitt??? Anton Yelchin??? You guys have no imagination. Apparently all someone has to do to be right for the role is have had a successful movie in the last two years. If anyone has to do it, I nominate Kris Lemche. A far more suitable choice than any listed in this thread. Take a look: That said, I think this movie is a bad idea. Jeff's music is his legacy, and it's perfect the way it is, without some stupid, cinematic bullshit version of it re-contextualizing it for James Franco fans. There's just no real story to tell as far as I can see. The story is the melody.

  • April 10, 2011, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Joseph Mazzello looks quite a bit like Buckley

    by American Mythos

  • April 10, 2011, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Blah blah to direct a biopic about blaaah.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • April 10, 2011, 8:38 a.m. CST

    if you post music links to his Dads songs,

    by Smack_Teddy

    you will be slapped on the wrist for trolling and find them removed, apparently. I never asked to be your mountain...

  • April 10, 2011, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Jimmy Gnecco? Really?

    by spacehog

    I mean I guess he basically plays Jeff Buckley every day of his life already...

  • April 10, 2011, 5:14 p.m. CST

    speaking of dead musicians and biopics

    by emeraldboy

    what happened to that one about kurt cobain. oh..wait....courteney.....of course....

  • I always though that a biopic of them, tim Burkley the father na dJeff Burkley the son, would be a movie that woulds tell the story of both shown in paralel, like how it was done in THE GODFATHER PART II.