Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet is in talks to play Bob Dylan in a new film from director James Mangold focused on a period when Dylan controversially transitioned from folk to rock as the musician was poised to become one of folk’s largest figures. Mangold and Fox Searchlight Pictures have closed a deal on the movie, which includes active involvement from Dylan himself.
It’s not clear whether Chalamet would sing Dylan songs such a “Like a Rolling Stone” or lip synch them, but Deadline reports the actor has already started taking guitar lessons in anticipation of the film titled “Going Electric.” A Fox Searchlight spokeswoman confirmed the news but said the movie is untitled at this point.
Dylan exploded on the folk scene when he was just 19 in the early 1960s with protest songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Controversy struck the musician in 1965 when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. (There’s a whole Wikipedia article dedicated to the “electric Dylan controversy,” detailing how his amplified sound was booed at the annual folk festival and the aftermath.)
Just as he did with his folk songs, Dylan’s rock repertoire went on to become some of the most influential pieces of popular music of the 20th century.
The Dylan movie will be Mangold’s second biographical music film after 2005’s “Walk the Line,” which earned Joaquin Phoenix a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Johnny Cash. Reese Witherspoon won Best Actress for her role as Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash.
Chalamet currently stars in Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” which was released on Christmas to critical acclaim, and is in the cast of Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” and Denis Villenueve’s “Dune,” both of which are due out this year.
The actor is set to make his London stage debut later in April in “4,000 Miles” at the Old Vic. He’s expected to start filming with Mangold after the play closes May 23, according to Deadline.
Chalamet earned wide recognition for his role in “Call Me by Your Name,” for which he became one of the youngest people ever to be nominated for Best Actor. He was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for “Beautiful Boy,” which starred him as a drug-addicted teenager opposite Steve Carell.