"Gossip Girl" star to play Jeff Buckley in movie

LOS ANGELES Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:35pm EDT

Actor Penn Badgley arrives for the premiere of the movie ''The Town'' at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Actor Penn Badgley arrives for the premiere of the movie ''The Town'' at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts September 14, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Gossip Girl" star Penn Badgley will play Jeff Buckley in a movie about the late singer/songwriter's relationship with his equally noted father, folk singer Tim Buckley, its producers said on Monday.

His casting in "Greetings From Tim Buckley" ends a search that took more than a year and marks the first film ever made about either musician.

The fact-based film is set in the days leading up to the younger Buckley's breakthrough performance at a 1991 tribute concert to his father, who abandoned him as a baby and died of a drug overdose in 1975 aged 28.

He falls for a young woman working at the concert, and comes to understand his father. Meanwhile, the concert sets the singer on the road to stardom. Buckley drowned in 1997, aged 30. He released one studio album during his lifetime, "Grace," which featured a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

"To play a man who was singularly gifted as an artist, greatly misunderstood & mythologized as a human being ... It's something very special and sacred. I'm going to give all I can to this project," Badgley, 24, said in a statement.

The film will start shooting in August in New York City. Dan Algrant ("People I Know") will direct the independent project from a script that he co-wrote. The roles of Tim Buckley and the girlfriend have not been cast yet.

"Greetings From Tim Buckley" is being produced with the authorization of Tim Buckley's estate. A rival project, a biopic about Jeff Buckley's life, is being developed with the help of his mother and executor, Mary Guibert.

Badgley, who plays Blake Lively's love interest on the teen soap "Gossip Girl," has appeared in such features as "Easy A" and the remake of "The Stepfather."

(Reporting by Dean Goodman)

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