charming timothée chalamet
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DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Searchlight Pictures has closed a deal with Ford V Ferrari helmer James Mangold to direct Going Electric. Timothee Chalamet is attached to play Bob Dylan during the period when he was poised to become folk music’s most seminal figure. When Dylan instead embraced rock n roll and traded his acoustic guitar for an amp and an electric guitar, it created a huge outcry. And it cemented the status of rock music. Dylan is working actively with Searchlight and Mangold on the film.

Negotiations are underway with Chalamet, who has gotten strong reviews for Little Women, and who next will make his London stage debut opposite Eileen Atkins in 4,000 Miles, the Old Vic production of Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer-nominated drama. The play bows April 16 and closes May 23rd. It is expected he will do Going Electric after that. Chalamet this year has the Wes Anderson-directed The French Dispatch coming from Fox Searchlight this year, though no release date has yet been firmed. He closes the year starring in the Denis Villenueve-directed adaptation of the seminal sci-fi Frank Herbert novel Dune, which Warner Bros and Legendary release December 18.

I am not sure if he will sing Dylan’s great songs like Taron Egerton did in Rocketman, or lip synch the way that Rami Malek did for Bohemian Rhapsody. But I’ve heard that Chalamet is already taking guitar lessons so he can familiarize himself with the acoustic and electric guitar.

Mangold, whose Ford V. Ferrari has crossed the $100 million domestic gross mark and $200 million worldwide for a film that has gotten uniformly strong reviews, will be doing his second film about an iconic musician after the Johnny Cash-June Carter film Walk The Line. He has done a rewrite on a script written by Jay Cocks (Gangs of New York). Searchlight acquired it after it was turned loose by HBO following the regime change there, with Chalamet quietly attaching at that time. The movie includes the book Dylan Goes Electric by Elijah Wald.

The film will be produced by Jeff Rosen (Dyan’s longtime manager), Veritas Entertainment Group’s Bob Bookman, Alan Gasmer and Peter Jaysen, Automatik’s Fred Berger, The Picture Company’s Alex Heineman and Mangold. Dylan will be exec producer along with Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Andrew Rona. Dylan’s music rights are part of the package.

Dylan was hailed as an acoustic prophet at age 19 when he exploded on the folk scene and seemed poised to follow in the footsteps of giants like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. So when he plugged in his guitar at the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965, the eruption was profound. Some folk purists labeled Dylan a traitor, and there were even attempts to unplug his amp, emblematic of the discord between folk and the growing power of rock music. Others appreciated the evolution of the artist whose place in electrified rock was cemented by hits that included Like A Rolling Stone. The drama revolves around Dylan and his interaction with sixties music legends including Joan Baez, Seeger and everyone who was around during that time.

WME and Management 360 rep Mangold and Chalamet is repped by UTA.

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