Cate Blanchett (pictured) will play Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’ curiouser and curiouser Bob Dylan biopic. Don’t worry, he can handle it. He’s secure in his manhood. Besides, he’s reinvented himself so many times, gender switch should be a cakewalk. Couldn’t be any tougher than the jump to adult contemporary.
How’d this happen? Seems Haynes (Far from Heaven, Velvet Goldmine) couldn’t find a single actor to play Bob Dylan for his new movie. So he found several, including, so far, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Christian Bale, and Blanchett. She’ll play an aspect of Dylan, an androgynous singer-songwriter named “Jude.” (Remember the Iggy Pop and Bowie avatars of Velvet Goldmine? Same sorta thing here…) Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, and Charlotte Gainsbourg are also in.
I’m a big fan of Haynes, who has always been a consistently brave, vivid, and visionary filmmaker. He seems naturally attracted to glittering surfaces – luminous rock gods, burnished Sirk-ian parables – and has a habit of prying them up to see what’s underneath, while simultaneously reminding us why we loved the lacquered legend in the first place. If he can pull that off with the greatest counterculture legend of them all, well…, well…, um…, I guess we’ll have to find an appropriate Dylan lyric to repurpose in praise. That’s how we at Entertainment Weekly say thank you.