Everything We Know About Timothée Chalamet’s Bob Dylan Biopic, A Complete Unkown


The film will revolve around one of the most iconic (and controversial) moments in Dylan’s career.

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After playing King Henry V in The King, an iconic literary love interest in Little Women, and a supposed prophet who unleashes an intergalactic holy war in Dune, Timothée Chalamet is now set to portray a music legend. The Oscar-nominated actor will embody a young Bob Dylan in an upcoming biopic tentatively titled A Complete Unknown.

Directed by James Mangold, who helmed the Christian Bale and Matt Damon starrer Ford v Ferrari, the film will follow Dylan’s big switch from folk to rock music, according to Deadline. Chalamet is rumored to be taking guitar lessons to prep for the role, but it’s unclear if he’ll be lending his real singing voice to the tracks.

Dylan fans, fear not: The musician himself is working actively with the director and studio Searchlight Pictures on the film. He’ll executive-produce and has already secured music rights for the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. His longtime manager, Jeff Rosen, is also a producer on the film.

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Ahead, we break down everything you need to know about the film.

The movie is about Dylan’s transition from folk music to rock’n’roll.

Previously titled Going ElectricA Complete Unknown will capture Dylan’s transformation into a rock musician, according to Deadline.

bob dylan goes electric at the 1965 newport folk festival


Dylan goes electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
The historic moment at the center of the film is Dylan’s performance at the 1965 Newport Rock Festival, when he put on a rock ‘n’ roll set with electric accompaniment for the first time, resulting in public outcry. That year,The New York Times reported that Dylan “was roundly booed by folk-song purists, who considered this innovation the worst sort of heresy.” Dylan had released one of his biggest hits, “Like a Rolling Stone,” just five days prior, which added to the shock.

The cast includes Elle Fanning, Edward Norton, and more.

In addition to Chalamet’s starring role as Dylan, the movie will feature performances from Elle Fanning as love interest Sylvie Russo and Edward Norton as folk singer Pete Seeger. Other cast members include Monica Barbaro as Joan Baez, Nick Offerman as Alan Lomax, and Boyd Holbrook as Johnny Cash, according to Rolling Stone.

elle fanning


We already have our first look at Timothée’s potrayal.

In March 2024, paparazzi captured photos of Chalamet from the movie’s New York City set. The pictures show the actor dressed in ’60s-era clothing, with his hair styled similarly to Dylan’s iconic curly shag.

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timothee chalamet on setGETTY IMAGES

timothee chalamet on setGETTY IMAGES

timothee chalamet on setGETTY IMAGES

timothee chalamet on setGETTY IMAGES

The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily delayed production.

Like many other film projects, the biopic had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, its cinematographer, Phedon Papamichael, told Collider in October 2020. “We were going to do Bob Dylan with [director James] Mangold,” he said. “That didn’t happen, with Timothee Chalamet about going electric in the ’60’s, and it would have been my third ’60’s movie in a row.”

Papamichael clarified that the movie hasn’t been scrapped altogether, but it’s just not happening “right now.” He added, “I don’t think it’s dead, but it’s a tough one to pull off in a COVID-era because it’s all in small clubs with lots of extras in period costumes, so you’ve got lots of hair and makeup.”

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Chalamet had already begun his research on Dylan. He had rented a house in Woodstock in July that happened to have a wall dedicated to the musician, according to his GQ cover story. “It’s not like I’m suffering from lack of connection otherwise, but it just really feels like I’m connecting to something here,” he said of staying in the town. He was traveling between Woodstock and New York City that whole month. Chalamet became “helplessly obsessed” with Dylan and quoted him often. In Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, he sought out the singer’s old addresses with notes from his memoir, Chronicles: Volume One.

This article originally appeared on harpersbazaar.com