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.
When asked how he got involved with the project, Bello told Artisan News (see video below), “I have an agent friend in New York — she’s an acting agent. I’ve studied theater way back when — I love it; it’s just another extension of performing. So… nobody’s gonna become the big-actor guy. I love acting, but it’s a thing I do; it’s just a hobby. So I got a call to go read for this ‘Greetings From Tim Buckley’ movie. I liked the script; it was great. This role of Richard Hell, a rock/punk icon, I thought it would look really cool. I did some research on it. I read for it and it worked; it just clicked. I read for it on a Thursday, I was cast on a Friday and it started shooting on a Monday. . . I did a week on it — seven days. It was 16-hour shoots.”
He added, “It was a great experience. I think people are gonna see a different side of me. I had to sing in French, which is pretty crazy; I never spoke a word of French in my life. That was pretty fast to learn, yeah. But it was a lot of fun. I was surrounded by some really great actors. I learned a lot on it and I had some fun.”
Bello previous told Legendary Rock Interviews about his work in “Greetings From Tim Buckley”. “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. . . 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.”
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”.