James Mangold May Direct Timothée Chalamet in a Bob Dylan Biopic

Published on January 7, 2020

James Mangold and Timothée Chalamet are about to boldly step into the world of singer and icon Mr. Bob Dylan. Hot off the success of Logan and Ford v Ferrari, Mangold is turning his interest towards another biopic, this time about Dylan. Mangold, who previously knocked Walk the Line out of the park, is an agreeable choice for the untitled Bob Dylan biopic currently referred to as Going Electric.

Going Electric 

The Searchlight biopic will cover one of the most famous periods of Dylan’s career, when he went electric. The folk singer changed up his style, which outraged his fans to put it mildly. While some were angered, however, others were thrilled. Dylan went from folk to rock icon and, apparently, the rock icon is creatively involved in Going Electric. The film is based on Eliajh Wald’s book, “Dylan Goes Electric.” Deadline doesn’t specify how involved Dylan is in the project, but the musician providing input is promising. Mangold kept Johnny Cash in the loop on Walk the Line, and look how well that turned out. 

Chalamet is a No-Brainer Pick 

Chalamet has been on a never-ending roll these last few years. Why? Pure talent, of course. He has such a distinct look and yet disappears rather seamlessly in movies such as Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, and Beautiful Boy. He chooses quality movies, and in turn, delivers quality performances. The actor has caught attention from some of the most prominent filmmakers working today, including Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049). 

Recently, Chalamet starred in Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” due out this December. The 24-year-old actor’s stock and talent continues to rise. It’s easy to imagine him playing Dylan, too, as he has a similar look and build. He’s already practicing guitar for the role, despite his deal to star in the biopic not yet finalized. Chalamet is soon making his theater debut, but once he’s done with the stage in April, he’ll probably star in Going Electric next. The biopic is happening sooner than later. 

Why Mangold is an Obvious Choice 

Mangold is a filmmaker who strikes the rare balance between art and commerce on a larger scale. Both Logan and Ford v Ferrari are strong adult entertainment, both fun and dramatic. Audiences and critics have been responding positively to this stage of Mangold’s career. He’s at the top of his game at the moment, delivering good movies and hits. He’s a fine choice for Going Electric, too, since he knows how to make biopics that do their subjects justice. 

Walk the Line is a conventional biopic, but an exceptional one. Yes, it laid the groundwork for a variety of cliches for music biopics, but Mangold managed to tell an artist’s entire life story without ever making it a Wikipedia page. Since Going Electric focuses on Dylan’s transition from acoustic to electric, Mangold won’t have the pressure of telling a man’s whole life story in one movie. That’s too conventional for a Dylan biopic anyway. On that note, that’s why Todd Hayne’s I’m Not There is so damn great. 

The Definitive Bob Dylan Biopic

I’m Not There represents the best of biopics. Rather than taking a brilliant creative mind and portraying it as a conventional three-act life, I’m Not There is every bit as imaginative and ambitious as its subject. Dylan is an elusive figure, and that’s exactly how Haynes treats him with an ensemble portraying different stages in his life and career. It’s a masterwork featuring a soundtrack made up of killer Dylan covers. Visually and audibly, it’s a trip like Dylan and his wide-ranging career. 

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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