ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello is making his feature film debut, playing the New York punk rock legend Richard Hell in the biopic “Greetings From Tim Buckley”. Frank Wood (“Changeling”, “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”) plays songwriter and Jeff Buckley collaborator Gary Lucas, while Penn Badgley (“Gossip Girl”) has been cast as Tim Buckley‘s son Jeff. Dan Algrant (“People I Know”, “Naked in New York”) is directing from a script he co-wrote with Emma Sheanshang and David Brendel.
John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews recently spoke to Bello about his work in “Greetings From Tim Buckley”. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Legendary Rock Interviews: I’m really interested in this movie you’re in which is coming out about soon. I met Jeff Buckley before he died and he was just one of the kindest souls you could ever hope to meet. I wasn’t a fan of his but he struck up a conversation backstage at a SOUNDGARDEN show in Milwaukee and just seemed to be incredibly sincere and engaging.
Frank Bello: Wow, really? That’s pretty cool. The movie really involves Jeff quite a bit. At the heart of it, really, it’s about him not really knowing his dad and playing a tribute concert to him and it’s pretty amazing. It’s called “Greetings From Tim Buckley” and the whole thing was really a lot of fun to do. I play Richard Hell, who was an acquaintance of Jeff‘s dad Tim and was this legendary punk guy and I spent about a week shooting my scenes.
Legendary Rock Interviews: How did you get involved with acting to begin with?
Frank Bello: It’s something I’ve been doing and been studying for a while now. I just really enjoy the creative end of it, getting into character and the whole art of that. I find it to be fulfilling and similar to the art of creating and living through your songs in music. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Legendary Rock Interviews: ANTHRAX has always been one of those bands who exhibited a definite punk influence so it’s pretty cool and fitting that you’d be playing a guy like Richard Hell. Did the years of playing in a band help at all as far as preparing for this?
Frank Bello: Not really. As soon as I got the part, I just sunk myself into doing a lot of research. I am a BIG Jeff Buckley fan and I really was familiar with his songs and I knew of his father Tim, so I had heard of this Richard Hell character but I really only knew OF him. There was really a lot of learning I had to do because I wasn’t that familiar with all of his music and his personality. It was a lot of fun once I started researching it.
Legendary Rock Interviews: Richard Hell basically invented a lot of the asthetics of punk, the look and the feel of what ended up being known as “punk” and even the SEX PISTOLS acknowledge that. Did you get a chance to kind of get in his head in order to get into character?
Frank Bello: Yeah, I really sunk into it and put a lot of that into my performance and of course the director gave me a ton of notes on everything from the music to the look of the character. It was kind of cool to put their pieces of research together with mine and bring this character to life. I have heard they are editing it now and they don’t have a release date but it should be out sometime this year. There’s been a couple of runs of it and they are editing it all as we speak.
Read the entire interview at Legendary Rock Interviews.
Bello shot his scenes in New York in September 2011, including an early call on the set the morning after ANTHRAX‘s September 14 homecoming concert at Yankee Stadium with the rest of the so-called “Big Four” of 1980s thrash metal (METALLICA, MEGADETH and SLAYER).
“Greetings From Tim Buckley” is one of three rival projects centering on Buckley‘s life. The film will tell the true story of the days leading up to Jeff Buckley‘s eminent 1991 performance at his father’s tribute concert in St. Ann’s Church.
According to indieWIRE, Bello previously had tiny roles in a handful of television and movie projects mostly as a member of ANTHRAX, though he did also play “Johhny, Rocker” in an episode of “Law Order”.