With only one shortened season of Gossip Girl left to go, Penn Badgley — known to those who sign their emails “XOXO” as Lonely Boy — is poised to break out. After winning even more teen hearts in 2010’s Easy A and earning serious-actor cred in last year’s Margin Call, he stars as Jeff Buckley in the upcoming biopic Greetings from Tim Buckley. The film premiered last week at the Toronto International Film Festival and finds Badgley’s Buckley grappling with the legacy of a father who was practically a stranger to him.
So, how believable is Badgley as Buckley in the trailer that’s just surfaced? Honestly, it’s hard to look at him and not see Dan Humphrey, the smart and self-effacing outsider, full of gently withering observations and slightly nervous mannerisms. But there are also some shots where Badgley’s face seems to open up and let in some of the vulnerability or transcendence we associate with Jeff Buckley. The performance footage, in particular, is promising — which won’t come as a surprise to those who have seen footage of Badgley playing three of Buckley’s songs in Brooklyn last month. Watch the trailer below.