Culture / TV

After four years of delays, we have our first look at Timothée Chalamet’s Bob Dylan biopic

While we try and digest his performance on Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two (and the looks that were served on the accompanying press tour), we've been blessed with even more Timothée Chalamet film news today. We've waited for this day for years – the day we finally get to see the Oscar-nominated actor on set as music legend, Bob Dylan, in the upcoming biopic film newly re-christened: A Complete Unknown.

After four years of delays (the project was originally announced and signed off on by Dylan himself in 2020), we now have a more definitive timeline for when we might expect to see the project reach cinemas.


First look at Chalamet on set

In photos obtained by outlets in the U.S., Chalamet is seen in a fittingly Dylan-esque ensemble on set, complete with faded bluejeans, rucksack, train cap and of course, a worn guitar case in hand.


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What's A Complete Unknown about?

The film’s director, James Mangold – who worked on cultural classics like Girl, Interrupted and Walk The Line – has said that A Complete Unknown isn't really a Bob Dylan biopic, but instead about “a very specific moment” in the 1960s folk scene of New York City.

"It’s a kind of ensemble piece about this moment in time, the early ’60s in New York, and this 17-year-old kid with $16 in his pockets hitchhikes his way to New York to meet Woody Guthrie who is in the hospital and is dying of a nerve disease," said Mangold on an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast. "He sings Woody a song that he wrote for him and befriends Pete Seeger, who is like a son to Woody, and Pete sets him up with gigs at local clubs and there you meet Joan Baez and all these other people who are part of this world.”

The film and filmmakers' avoidance of calling itself a biopic is one of the reasons that the real Bob Dylan has apparently been “so supportive of us making it".

"I have a script that’s personally annotated by him [Dylan] and treasured by me," continued Mangold, "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." (Cop Land was Mangold's sophomore directorial project.)

The best part of all though? The filmmakers have received the green light from Bob Dylan and the rights to use his music.


Who is cast in A Complete Unknown?

Excitingly, it's been confirmed that Elle Fanning is set to reunite with Chalamet on screen, joining the cast as Dylan's love interest, Sylvie Russo, a university student and artist. The two previously starred alongside each other in Woody Allen's 2016 film, A Rainy Day In New York. It'll be nice to see Chalamet and Fanning once more (but under the direction of a less problematic director, and which might actually see a full cinema release).

Leading duo of Chalamet and Fanning aside, we also know that Benedict Cumberbatch is confirmed to play American folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger. Top Gun: Maverick's Monica Barbaro is also slated to be joining the cast as folk singer Joan Baez.


When will A Complete Unknown be released?

Years of delays aside, the film finally has a shooting date. While filming for A Complete Unknown was originally set to begin in August this year, the SAG-AFTRA strike has pushed it back until February 2024.


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