Timothee Chalamet is currently in negotiations to play young Bob Dylan in an untitled biopic focusing on a seminal moment in the iconic musicians life.
Searchlight Pictures has already closed a deal with director James Mangold to helm the picture. Production is expected to start after Chalamet finishes a six-week run in the Old Vic production of Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer-nominated drama 4,000 Miles at the end of May. The screenplay is by Gangs Of New York screenwriter Jay Cocks, who is working in part from the book Dylan Goes Electric by Elijah Wald.
Although there is no official title for the project, Deadline reports that around Hollywood the film has been referred to as Going Electric.
For those familiar with Dylan’s career and the Folk Movement of the 1960s, the phrase “going electric” refers to the watershed moment in 1965 when Dylan started to perform with an electric guitar rather than the standard acoustic guitars that all other folk acts were using. His album Bringing It All Back Home, released in March of that year, was his first recording to feature Dylan playing an electric guitar. His first public performance with an electric guitar followed later that summer when on July 25 he played the Newport Folk Festival. The reaction from the crowd was negative, with boos and jeers chasing Dylan off stage after just three songs.
Criticism of Dylan going electric continued on through 1966, but it certainly didn’t seem to phase the singer. It was arguably one of his most creatively fertile periods as a songwriter. Within days of the disastrous performance at the Newport Folk Festival, he had written and recorded the future hit “Positively 4th Street,” which was seen as a rather large middle finger extended to those he saw as fair-weather friends from his early days playing folk clubs along Manhattan’s West 4th Street. He followed that up with the albums Highway 61 Revisited, which yielded hits such as the title track and “Like A Rolling Stone,” and Blonde On Blonde which yielded the hits “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35,” “I Want You” and “Just Like A Woman” and is considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time.
Deadline states that the deal for the film includes the music rights to Dylan’s music and that Chalamet has already begun taking guitar lessons as preparation for filming.