Dylan Hits the Big Screen

Three new films look at the legend

June 26, 2003
Bob Dylan with 'Seinfeld' writer, Larry Charles.
Bob Dylan with 'Seinfeld' writer, Larry Charles.
J. Vespa/WireImage

Though he once griped that "cameras make ghosts of people," Bob Dylan will show up onscreen a lot in the near future. He plays an ex-con troubadour in this summer's Masked and Anonymous, directed by Seinfeld writer Larry Charles. There are two more films in the works: a documentary by Martin Scorsese and a fictional account of Dylan's life by Velvet Goldmine director Todd Haynes.

Scorsese's tentatively titled Bob Dylan Anthology will focus on his early years – from his stint at the University of Minnesota to the recording of Blonde on Blonde in 1966 – and will feature Dylan talking about himself, his first on-camera interview in twenty years. It will include never-before-seen footage from the 1963, '64, and '65 Newport Folk Festivals, outtakes from D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 Don't Look Back and silent home movies from 1961. The Scorsese project will also contain rare television footage, including Dylan's 1964 appearance on the Steve Allen Show. The doc is expected to debut at upcoming U.S. film festivals and air on PBS sometime in 2005.

Haynes' movie, tentatively titled I'm Not There: Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan, is an impressionistic account of the man. Haynes says the drama will "draw from [Dylan's] life but will refract who he is into a cluster of characters played by different actors." Though the film hasn't yet been cast, at least one of those Dylans will be played by a woman. Somehow, this project has the musician's blessing.

This story is from the June 16, 2003 issue of Rolling Stone.

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