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Penn Badgley to play Jeff Buckley

Penn Badgley will play Jeff Buckley.
Penn Badgley will play Jeff Buckley.

PENN Badgley has reportedly beaten Robert Pattinson to the role of Jeff Buckley in a new biopic.

The 'Gossip Girl' star has been cast ahead of the 'Twilight' hunk and also James Franco to play the late iconic musician.

Producers wanted an actor who could play the guitar and sing to portray Buckley and although Pattinson can do both, Badgley is believed to have got the nod because his voice sounds more similar to the 'Hallelujah' singer.

A source told HollywoodLife.com: "Penn is thrilled to get this role and thinks it's the film of a lifetime."

The decision to give Badgley the coveted part is said to have left Pattinson "devastated" as he was desperate to get the part.

The 25-year-old actor had even been given the backing of Buckley's mother Mary Guibert to portray her son on the big screen.

She said: "Robert is a fine young actor. I'm flattered he's been linked to this project."

Buckley - the son of musician Tim Buckley - tragically drowned at the age of 30 after spontaneously deciding to go swimming fully clothed in a channel of the Mississippi River in 1997.

He only released one album, the critically acclaimed 'Grace', during his lifetime and had been in Memphis to record the follow-up to the 1994 LP.

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