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Check Out the First Photos of Timothée Chalamet as Bob Dylan

The internet had a field day with the first glimpses of the star shooting 'A Complete Unknown.'

chalamet dylan
Source: SteveSands/NewYorkNewswire/MEGA

Chalamet will play Dylan in James Mangold's film 'A Complete Unknown.'

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Of the countless music biopics scheduled to hit theaters over the next several years, few have elicited as much curiosity as A Complete Unknown, director James Mangold's yet-undated film which will see Dune star Timothée Chalamet portray Bob Dylan during his groundbreaking electric phase in the 1960s. Shooting on the film was delayed due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, but on March 17 we got our first look at the star in Dylanesque garb, and oh, the takes, they were a-comin'.

The film's studio, Fox Searchlight, has yet to release any official production stills, but that didn't stop some intrepid photographers from sneaking a few glimpses at the star on location, and they promptly exploded on social media.

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chalamet dylan
Source: SteveSands/NewYorkNewswire/MEGA

Chalamet portrays Dylan in the 1960s in the film.

As one might imagine from the confluence of one of the era's most famous young stars and one of the past century's most inscrutable musical icons, the internet had no shortage of opinions. (Making snap judgments on an entire film that is still in production based on a few surreptitious glances of the star in costume is, of course, deeply unfair to the actors and artisans involved. Though we will confess to enjoying this response in particular.) Much of the film's scope remains completely unknown at present, although we do know that Edward Norton will play folk music icon Pete Seeger, who, according to legend, attempted to sever electrical cables with a hatchet when Dylan first went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. (There is, of course, considerable debate over whether this actually happened.)

Mangold previously directed the 2005 Johnny and June Carter Cash biopic Walk the Line, which saw Reese Witherspoon win a Best Actress Oscar for her role as the latter country music legend. In addition to Chalamet and Norton, the Complete Unknown cast includes Elle Fanning (The Great) as Sylvie Russo, an artist and university student whom Dylan was romantically involved with in the early ’60s, and Monica Barbaro (Top Gun: Maverick) as fellow folk singer Joan Baez.

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bob dylan joan baez
Source: MEGA

Monica Barbaro will play Joan Baez alongside Chalamet's Dylan in the film.

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Dylan has certainly been a major onscreen presence for decades, whether in straightforward documentaries, documentaries of ingeniously slippery veracity, or his own critically divisive features. In 2007, director Todd Haynes cast more than half a dozen different actors as different versions of Dylan in his thrillingly experimental film I’m Not There, though anyone expecting to see a nuts-and-bolts biopic likely walked out of the theater quite confused. With Mangold on tap for A Complete Unknown, one might expect a more linear approach.

Or perhaps not. In an interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast last summer, Mangold revealed that Dylan had personally reviewed the script, and offered suggestions and annotations.

“By the way, it’s not really a Bob Dylan biopic,” Mangold said on the podcast. “The reason Bob has been so supportive of us making it, is it’s about... as in all cases I think the best true-life movies are never cradle-to-grave, but they’re about a very specific moment. In this case, it might sound Altman-esque, but it’s a kind of ensemble piece about this moment in time."

chalamet dylan
Source: SteveSands/NewYorkNewswire/MEGA

Shooting on 'A Complete Unknown' was delayed due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

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As for Dylan himself, he remains as tireless a presence as ever on the touring circuit. Starting in June, he'll head out on the road with Willie Nelson, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, John Mellencamp and others as part of the Outlaw Music Festival. Dylan is currently in the midst of a shorter solo tour, ostensibly in support of his 2020 album Rough and Rowdy Ways, which will wrap up in early April in Dallas.


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