Gossip Girl actor Penn Badgley has been tapped to star as Jeff Buckley in a new biopic about the singer-songwriter. No, not that one — the other one. In true Hollywood fashion, there are currently two Buckley-based projects in the works: the one Jake Scott’s making with Buckley’s mother Mary Guibert as executive producer, and this one, directed by Daniel Algrant (Naked in New York). Scott’s film will be look at Buckley’s (tragically brief) life and career arc, whereas Algrant’s will focus on Buckley’s breakthrough performance at a 1991 tribute concert for his father, the late Tim Buckley. According to The Playlist, Algrant’s will also include a romance between Buckley and a working at the concert.

I really only know Badgley from Easy A and the handful of Gossip Girl episodes I’ve seen, and I can’t say he’s ever left a strong impression on me. (Well — I hated his Gossip Girl character, but that’s probably less his fault than the writers’.) So I can’t say whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, there’s a chance he’ll be going up against fellow teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson, who’s still rumored to be circling the corresponding role in Scott’s movie. [24 Frames]

After the jump, rising star Andrea Riseborough wins the female lead in Welcome to the Punch, and Fairly Legal‘s Sarah Shahi signs on for Walter Hill’s next project.

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The Sylvester Stallone film Headshot, which adapts the Matz and Colin Wilson graphic novel Bullet to the Head, became a bit more promising than just another action film when Walter Hill signed on to replace Wayne Kramer as director. Mr. Hill hasn’t made a great many movies in the past twenty years, but on the basis of classics like The Warriors, 48 Hrs. and The Driver, we have to be hopeful for a comeback.

Now Joel Silver‘s Dark Castle Entertainment has partnered with IM Global and After Dark Films on the project, which also means that Warner Bros. will distribute the final product. It will, however, go out with a different title. Read More »

Vin Diesel to Direct Fast and the Furious Prequel

Vin Diesel revealed to ComingSoon that he is directing a 20-minute prequel to the fourth Fast and the Furious movie. Diesel will also star in the prequel alongside Michelle Rodriguez and Sung Kang. No word on how this will connect, if at all, with the earlier films or where it will be released. Maybe it will be included on a DVD re-release of “the original trilogy”. Chances are it can’t be worse than 2 Fast 2 Furious.

This isn’t Diesel’s first time in the director’s chair. He helmed and starred in a short film titled Strays, that was shown during the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. Steven Spielberg saw the short and decided to cast the actor in Saving Private Ryan, jump-starting his career. He tried his hand at directing one more time in a low-budget 1999 short film titled Multi-Facial. Diesel has since tried his hand at producing, at at one point was announced to helm and star in Hannibal the Conqueror, about the Carthaginian general who led an elephant-riding battalion across the Alps to attack Rome in the 3rd Century B.C.

Justin Lin’s Fast and Furious hits theaters on June 5th 2009.

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