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 »

Let’s tackle these in reverse order from the headline. Last week rumors emerged that Sylvester Stallone would direct The Expendables 2 after all. (Several months back it had been announced that he would not write or direct.) The rumor showed up via a BoxOfficeMojo tweet, and was reportedly sourced from LionsGate, which distributed the first film. I contacted the studio, which said that nothing was confirmed.

Now Deadline indirectly but definitively reports a statement from Sly that he “wants it known that despite reports to the contrary, he will not be directing the sequel to The Expendables.” So that remains that. The script is in, and now we’ll wait to see who is tapped to direct, what cast members will return, and who’ll be added. Maybe the experience of directing Sylvester Stallone in Headshot will go so well that Walter Hill will do The Expandables sequel as well? More info on Headshot, which Thomas Jane has just joined, after the break. Read More »

A week ago, Wayne Kramer walked away from the director’s chair for the film Headshot, in which Sylvester Stallone is slated to star. Blame creative differences; in other words, there was a staredown over material and the star won, as tends to happen. Shortly afterward Sylvester Stallone wanted Walter Hill to step into the job as director, and that is now happening. In other words, the director of The Warriors, 48 Hrs. and the Deadwood pilot is on his way back! Read More »

Earlier today we reported that the Sylvester Stallone film Headshot needs a new director, as the previous hire, Wayne Kramer (The Cooler) walked due to creative differences. Now we know there are a number of contenders to replace him, with Sylvester Stallone’s key choice being Walter Hill, director of films like 48 Hours and The Warriors, and an early participant in Deadwood. Read More »

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview. In this installment: the perverse and obscure ’60s thriller, Who Killed Teddy Bear?, being shown tonight at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives; the doc, Nick Nolte: No Exit, which finds good ol’ Nick candidly Q&Aing himself on topics ranging from god to drugs. For a special Weekend Weirdness posted yesterday about the imaginative skateboarder fantasy Machotaildrop, click here.

Photographed above is a real deal, shrink-wrapped, limited-edition VHS for The House of the Devil, promoting its release on DVD/Blu-Ray early next month. It’s one of the coolest pieces of swag I’ve received for this column thus far; to my knowledge only a few peeps were sent one, including Devil-supporter Drew McWeeny at HitFix. And even fewer peers have watched the tape. Some are scared, others are sans VCR. I’ve seen last year’s best horror flick at least thirteen times now, so I’d rather keep it sealed. Similar to the wizard-bong approved THotD poster design by Kellerhouse last year, the VHS packaging has faux rental scruffs, in addition to a retro “new release” starburst. A disclaimer on the back reads, “Caution: This film contains Satanic references and graphic violence.” Haters would add: “…and so much pointless walking.”

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It’s been quite a while since Walter Hill directed a film that could be called a total success, but I never stop pulling for the guy who directed The Warriors, 48 Hrs. and Streets of Fire. (Even if he also directed Another 48 Hrs. — nasty stuff.) So I’ll take any shred of positive news about his upcoming work, and this news is seriously positive. Hill is working on a film called St. Vincent that will reunite him with his Johnny Handsome star Mickey Rourke. Now he’s added another Johnny Handsome alum, Forest Whitaker, and some other great cast members that should push the film up  on my watch list. Read More »

With the right material, Walter Hill can play a blinder. Very often, however, the scripts he choses just aren’t up to the job – and I suppose the same can be said of Mickey Rourke. I’m definitely rooting for him in the Oscars and, before that, tonight’s BAFTAs.

They worked together in the late 80s, before each suffered a sad commercial and artistic struggle in the 90s. That time around they gave us the undervalued Johnny Handsome, a gangster fable about redemption, revenge and plastic surgery – somewhat prophetic, I feel. This time around they’ll bring us St. Vincent – another gangster fable about redemption and revenge, though apparently not this time tackling cosmetic operations.

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