Bob Dylan is a Woman...and That Woman is Cate Blanchett

by | December 13, 2006 | Comments

Some people are so legendary it takes six actors to play them. In Todd Haynes‘ experimental movie "I’m Not There," six thespians portray various aspects of singer Bob Dylan, including Cate Blanchett.

"I think that’s the greatness of the idea is that he’s splitting Dylan’s person into so many different ways," said Blanchett. "To a Woodie Guthrie type figure, a TV evangelist. I play him when he went electric. Into an actor. Into an 18th century poet, a 17th century poet. And I think when you juxtapose all those different personas, then you get a sense of his spirit. Or his shape shifting."

Blanchett opposite Judi Dench in the upcoming "Notes on a Scandal"

Each Bob is filmed in a different style too, as Blanchett described hers. "Mine’s in black and white and I think some of them are hypercolored. Todd is a genre defying film director to begin with. If you look back to his film school thing about Karen Carpenter, if you’ve seen it, with the Barbie dolls, it’s amazing. He thinks so laterally, in such a Todd Haynes way. I don’t think anyone else could have conceived of the idea. And it’s great because the fact that I’m a woman, automatically you have that Brechtian distance between the persona of Dylan and the form of the film liberates it from being a biopic."

Blanchett admits she is terrified about portraying even a sixth of Bob Dylan. "I think it’s probably the expectations. I was terrified doing it because he and I had no interest in imitating Dylan but yet Todd was really specific that I wore a suit that he wore in 1965, like the exact suit that he wore in Manchester. And the hair. He wants those iconic references but yet he doesn’t want an imitation, so it was a really difficult tightrope to walk which I hope I walked without falling off too often. But also, it’s just that expectation because even though the film’s aim is not to be a biopic, people will automatically want to receive it as that."

Also taking on the role of Robert Allen Zimmerman are Christian Bale, Richard Gere, and Heath Ledger, joined by castmembers Charlotte Gainsbourg, Adrien Brody, Michelle Williams, David Cross, and Julianne Moore. The film is expected to premiere at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Pics from the set are up on this site — see for yourself, Cate looks pretty Dylan-esque in costume!

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