Talking Shit

Five Locals We Think Could Star in Upcoming Jeff Buckley Biopics

Continuing with the long-running trend of dueling movie projects that brought us simultaneous films about Truman Capote  (Capote versus Infamous), mall cops (Observe and Report versus Paul Blart: Mall Cop), and sexy Brazilian dances (Lambada versus The Forbidden Dance), two Hollywood studios are developing projects about the ill-fated life of singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley.

Smuggler Films' version, Greetings From Tim Buckley, seems to have the head start. This past Monday, the Huffington Post reported that this project had selected Gossip Girls' Penn Badgley to play the late Buckley. Directed by Dan Algrant (Naked in New York), this film will focus on the days leading up to Buckley's famed breakout 1991 performance at a Brooklyn tribute concert to his deceased father, folk musician Tim Buckley.

The other project, spearheaded by Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, will have acclaimed music video director Jake Scott (Radiohead, Verve, U2) in the director's chair. This is reported to take a more conventional biopic approach. Scott's rendition will cover the totality of Buckley's life, from his birth in Anaheim, California, to his tragic death while swimming in Tennessee's Wolf River Harbor in 1997.

Rumor has it that The Twilight Saga's Robert Pattinson is in serious contention for the lead role in this yet-untitled rendition. Meanwhile, other blogs suggest that developers also have their eyes on acclaimed actor James Franco.

Just in case Pattinson is too busy nibbling on Kristen Stewart's neck and casting directors might still be looking to fill the role, we'd like to offer up a few local, South Florida options we think might just have what it takes to play the departed crooner.

1. Nick Eberhardt

Based on looks alone, Nick Eberhardt is a spot-on Buckley. This West Palm Beach musician certainly has the defined cheek-bone structure to fill the role, no doubt, but he also has the dead-on sensitive, tortured-artist spirit to complete it.  

2. Sam Friend

Shifting his time from Miami to Seattle to New York, Miami-bred University of Miami grad Friend certainly embodies the troubadour nature of Buckley. Also worth considering is that Friend is finishing off a successful monthlong residency at an intimate Lower East Side music venue called the Living Room. That of course calls to mind Buckley's famous run at a similar neighborhood venue, the now-defunct Sin-é, in the early '90s.

3. John Ralston

OK, so this bushy Lake Worth musician has gotten a wee bit shaggy since his musical pendulum swung from his introspective Elliot Smith-like beginnings toward his more recent free-form Tom Petty-style Americana. He's still an enthralling force. Similiar to Buckley himself, he has the skills that will have the guys in awe while the gals are swooning over his good looks.

4. Julian Cires

Girls who frequent local shows will tell you: West Palm Beach three-piece Lavola's front man ranks high in the hunk factor. But Cires is more than just a beefcake. Actually listing Jeff Buckley as inspiration, this talented singer has the kind of sweeping vocals that will blow away casting scouts.

5. Mike Mineo

We'd like to think of Mineo as a kind of tropical version of Jeff Buckley. This Boca Raton resident branches out from standard coffeehouse singer/songwriter fare with a style that's completely eclectic and ever-shifting. Hollywood types would admire his creativity.

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Alex Rendon