Timothée Chalamet will play another vainglorious fuckboy with bedhead. This time it’s Bob Dylan. James Mangold (Walk the Line, Logan) will direct Chalamet as young Dylan “during the period when he was poised to become folk music’s most seminal figure,” according to Deadline. I’ve seen some disbelief and regret about this, but I think it’s a bit of impeccable casting, and frankly can’t wait for hot, dumb, brooding Dylan, a total thrill akin to doing coke off a harmonica. I imagine.
Dylan, a highly self-styled and protean performer whose career spans many decades, can of course be played all kinds of ways. Todd Haynes’s 2007 film I’m Not There, in which multiple actors play the folk legend, is a testament to this — most memorably Cate Blanchett portraying Dylan from the same era Chalamet will conjure: as a symbol of youth, precocity, and protest in the ’60s. In her performance, Blanchett gives a sheen of wisdom and sobriety to a reenactment of Dylan’s famous 1965 Bay Area press conference, a generous interpretation rather than a straight impression.
But if you have Chalamet in mind while watching the original tape of that interview, you will see Dylan name-drop, deflect, and pout like Timmy when he plays the archetype of a skinny, dilettante high-school crush named Kyle in Lady Bird. At times Dylan stares moodily into the middle distance as if at something he is afraid to desire, like Chalamet’s Elio does in Call Me by Your Name. His bouncy curls and reckless-professor look befit a man who loves to dress up as much as Little Women’s Laurie does (the film’s costume designer Jacqueline Durran has even said that Chalamet’s outfits were inspired by Dylan).
In the interview, Dylan is tongue-tied at so tranquilized a pace he nearly comes off as prophetic. A reporter asks if he has any plans to do films. “No, I do have plans to make a film, but not because anybody said I should do them.” Another reporter asks him which director the folk star “digs.” His pat yet bratty response: “Truffaut. Uh, I really can’t think of any more people.” He even fusses and fidgets like a Chalamet, touching his face when he laughs or deliberates. Of course, they could always fuck this up, but there’s some good stuff here:
These visions of Chalamet, they conquer my mind.