Searchlight Pictures has just closed a deal on Going Electric, in which Timothée Chalamet will play a young incarnation of Bob Dylan as he made the jump from folk to rock music.
One can’t help but feel excited about the news. A quick glance at James Mangold’s filmography immediately sets him up as a director that could mesh well with Chalamet’s allure: just look at Girl, Interrupted, starring Winona Ryder (who, dare I say, possessed a quietly charming yet off-kilter star power very similar to that of Chalamet’s). More importantly, though, is the fact that Mangold directed Walk the Line, which is used to this day as an example of the ‘biopic done right’ in a world where musician movies of late have been formulaic and vapid. The film about Johnny Cash’s life received critical and commercial acclaim back in 2005, a fact that may send waves of relief to fans who were initially worried about the new announcement.
The Godfather of Folk himself needs no introduction. Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, was born in 1941 and became one of the most influential figures of the 1960s, with songs “Blowin’ in the Wind” (1963) and “The Times They Are a-Changin'” (1964) becoming anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements. In 1966 he made a controversial departure into more rock-influenced melodies–the period which Going Electric will reportedly focus on. Songs from this period include the then-groundbreaking “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
Though Chalamet’s neat curls aren’t quite of the frizzy variety that make up the warbler’s famous mop, there is still a wiry resemblance between the pair, a youthful energy that could well work to the actor’s advantage. And, from past film experiences, we already know that Chalamet’s way with a guitar has quite the effect on people.
2020 will be a huge year for Timmy, whose ascent hasn’t slowed down since he shot to fame in the devastatingly beautiful Call Me By Your Name in 2017. This year, he’ll make his West End debut at the Old Vic in 4000 Miles, before the release of Dune and The French Dispatch.
There’s no release date yet for Going Electric, but we’ll probably have quite the wait on our hands.
Words by Steph Green