Penn Badgley plays Jeff Buckley in new biopic
Actor Penn Badgley has been talking about the challenge of playing the late music legend Jeff Buckley in a new biopic. The film, Greetings From Tim Buckley, takes its title from the singer’s father, whose legacy was a major millstone for the young Jeff as he struggled to create his own niche in the music industry.
For Badgley, it might have been thought that the hardest task would have been singing in Buckley’s trademark high-pitched style. The actor was confident he could cope. "I mean this in just the most plain way: I knew I could do it," he told Vulture. "I was not concerned about the singing. I was concerned about doing it in the right way, because I actually can imitate him more than I did in the movie. I could have maybe focused more on the mimicry. But I decided not to."
Badgeley decided to pursue a rounded portrayal rather than an imitation. "I wasn't going to augment my voice and sound like Michael Jackson the whole time, because Jeff had a very high speaking voice, a full octave higher than mine. I'm a little more muscular than he was, I wasn't quite as thin. My hair wasn't as long as it was at that time, but it also looked a little like the Grace cover."
He studied film of Buckley performing to get the essence of the man. "What made him so beautiful is that he was a man, but he was so feminine, too. He was gentle, but he also had such rage. I had to take all of his energy in."