Bob Dylan is reportedly getting the biopic treatment, with swoon-worthy star Timothée Chalamet in talks to play the Duluth native in a movie that centers on Dylan’s infamous decision to plug in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Dylan himself is on board, according to Deadline, serving as an executive producer. The movie’s working title: Going Electric.
In the past Dylan’s worked with directors as diverse as D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back, 1967), Larry Charles (Masked and Anonymous, 2003), and Martin Scorsese (Rolling Thunder Revue, 2019). In Todd Haynes’s eccentric I’m Not There (2007), Dylan was played by a series of actors including Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, and Cate Blanchett.
He’s never had a proper, full-fledged biopic, though, and a team including Chalamet (Little Women, Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name) and director James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari, Logan), with Dylan personally participating, is sure to get filmgoers’ attention.
Mangold directed the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, and news of the project comes at a hot time for music biopics: Renée Zellweger and Taron Egerton just scooped Golden Globes for their roles as Judy Garland and Elton John, respectively, in Judy and Rocketman, while Rami Malek took the most recent Best Actor Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. That movie broke a biopic box office record set just a few years back by the N.W.A. movie Straight Outta Compton.
Dylan may not be as popular as Queen or Elton John, or as (relatively) fresh as N.W.A., but at 78 he remains as enigmatic as ever. Chalamet is now 24, the same age as Dylan when he took the stage at Newport.