Way back in June (yeah, that's light years ago in Internet time), Martha told you all about the efforts to finally make a movie about musician Jeff Buckley, who went for an evening swim in the Wolf River Marina fully clothed in 1997 and drowned. Mary Guibert, Buckley's mother, has long insisted that Buckley's death was accidental and was not related to drugs, alcohol, or mental illness; an autopsy showed no illegal drugs in his system at the time of his death.

Hollywood has been interested in making a film about Buckley for years. Brad Pitt, according to a story in today's New York Times, once said that he was "obsessed" with Buckley's music, and tried more than once to get a film project about the late singer's life going; Pitt was thwarted by Guibert, who has struggled for years to not have her son's life, work and death distilled into a two-hour movie. She previously rejected scripts that portrayed her son as depressed and using drugs, and that delved too far into fantasy -- one rejected script by Emma Forrest (who also wrote the screen play for the Bette Midler film The Rose), along the lines of the film The Rose, had Buckley meeting the ghost of Judy Garland. Nonetheless, Guibert, fearing that with or without her consent, someone would make a film about her son, finally decided to take control of Hollywood's interest in his story herself. According to a note from Guibert herself on Buckley's official website, after seeing other biopics such as Ray and Finding Neverland, she contacted Michelle Sy, exec producer of Finding Neverland, and Sy agreed to produce the film and hunt down a screenwriter. They decided on Brian Jun, whose film, Steel City, played at Sundance. Guibert appears to have every confidence that Jun's screenplay will capture Buckley the way she wants, but assures fans through her son's website that "Brian is not the sort of fellow to sugar-coat or manipulate the facts. I've looked into his eyes and I know that he's a straight shooter. There's a depth of character to Brian, surprising in someone so young, and I have seen from his film-making that he has the courage and the skill to do this the way it should be done."

The screenplay, interestingly, will not be an adaptation of the book Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley, by David Browne, but Sun, according to Guiden on the official site's FAQ about the film, will consult with Browne in writing the script. If you're not familiar with the enigmatic musician and why anyone would care about a movie about him, you can check out the official MySpace site devoted to Buckley, as well as the official website that his mother is deeply involved in maintaining. Buckley's 1994 album, Grace, is listed as one of Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time." An expanded edition of the album was released by Columbia in 2004.

Guiden doesn't speculate on the site about casting yet (though she is insistent that Brad Pitt is not now, nor has he ever been, interested in playing Buckley himself), but no doubt Buckley's many fans out there have their own ideas about who should play the lead role. Buckley was 31 at the time of his death -- there are a lot of actors out there who might fit the bill. Speak up, legions of Buckley fans: Who would you love to see play the part of Buckley in Mystery White Boy, once the script is ready to go?

[ via Movie City News ]