Here’s everything we know about Timothée Chalamet’s upcoming Bob Dylan biopic

The director of the film has confirmed that the legendary folk artist has had input on the film’s screenwriting process.

With what’s set to be a career-defining role for Timothée Chalamet in Wonka, releasing later this year, he’ll first be stepping foot on the set of The Complete Unknown – the Bob Dylan biopic in which he’ll take on the lead role. 

The Searchlight Pictures film was first announced back in 2020 after Dylan signed off on the project himself. The flick is directed by James Mangold, who previously worked on Girl, Interrupted and the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, and has confirmed that Chalamet will be belting out Dylan classics in the movie. 

Chalamet is set to play Dylan in the period of his life and music career where he traded in his acoustic folk sensibilities for rock ‘n’ roll. The movie is said to span from the 19-year-old Dylan dropping out of college in 1960 and his rapid ascent to stardom that followed the 1966 motorcycle accident that irreparably changed his voice.

“It’s such an amazing time in American culture and the story of Bob – a young 19-year-old Bob Dylan coming to New York with like $2 in his pocket and becoming a worldwide sensation within three years,” Mangold said in an interview with Collider.

Elle Fanning will take on the role of Sylvie West, who Deadline describes as “Dylan’s early ’60s love interest, university student and artist.” Another of the singer’s love interests, musician Joan Baez, will be played by Monica Barbaro (Top Gun: Maverick). Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Pete Seeger, an early influence on Dylan’s sound, who helped facilitate his debut album. Mangold also stated that folk musician and activist Woody Guthrie would also make an appearance. 

Dylan himself has been incredibly involved in the screenwriting process for the film, Mangold has revealed. In an interview with Josh Horowitz on his Sad. Happy. Confused. podcast, Mangold had said that he “spent several, wonderfully charming, days in Bob’s company. It was one on one talking to him. I have a script that’s personally annotated by him,” adding: “He loves movies. The first time I sat down with Bob, one of the first things he said to me was ‘I love Cop Land’,” in reference to the filmmaker’s 1997 movie.

It might be a while until we see Chalamet in the titular role, though, as production on The Complete Unknown kicks off in August this year, meaning you’ll have to wait to catch the actor seductively strumming a guitar. Until then, you’ll just have to leave that image for your dreams.

WriterChris Saunders
Banner Image CreditWarner Bros.