As a Jeff Buckley fan, I’ve always wondered why a movie about the late singer/songwriter hasn’t materialized. It’s an amazingly sad story. Here’s a guy with a famous musician father (Tim Buckley), a career based on being discovered doing cover tunes in New York City, a critically acclaimed debut album (“Grace”), and then a tragic death at the hands of the Mississippi River. You could almost say that Jeff Buckley is one of the Greatest Musicians That Never Was.
Sadly, several outlets are reporting that spare pretty boy Robert Pattinson has been wanting to play Buckley for quite some time. While I may be too quick to judge, I’m going on record as saying this is the worst idea in the history of ideas. I think Pattinson has proved that beyond playing some emo-vampire, he’s not cut out for this time of acting gig. You get one shot at something like this and it has to be pitch-perfect, much like Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. If you are going to do a Buckley movie, you simply have to get an actor that you know has the chops to get inside Jeff Buckley for two hours. There are two guys, in this order, that I think, are ready to do this: James Franco and James Franco.
I’ve long believed that Franco is perfect to play Buckley in a movie. I looked at the album cover of “Grace” one day and just said to myself, “Holy Hell that looks just like James Franco.” Sure, he’s already done the role of icon that tragically died early in life (James Dean), but he’s too talented and resembles Buckley far too much to not be approached for this part.