“I’m Not There” is the first movie about Bob Dylan’s life that the singer-songwriter has ever given his blessing, the director said Tuesday at the Venice Film Festival.
Director Todd Haynes thinks its the film’s multifaceted approach to Dylan’s life that won his approval.
“I do think it was because of this open structure, something that we keep expanding through the years,” said Haynes. “And because of that Bob thought, ‘OK, this may be the one thing I’ll say OK to.”’
Premiering Tuesday, the movie dramatizes Dylan’s changes in personae by having seven actors portray him, including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere and Heath Ledger.
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Haynes’ first film told the story of singer Karen Carpenter using Barbie dolls; in 1998 he directed “Velvet Goldmine,” which explored the glam-rock movement.
In “I’m Not There,” Blachett plays the role of “Jude,” or Dylan during his folk-rock incarnation. Haynes said he knew a woman had to play the role to reflect Dylan’s physical being in that era.
“Cate was scared. She told me many times this was a very scary challenge for her,” Haynes said. “I told her, ‘You can’t be totally terrified every time you do a new role, but it’s good to be terrified sometimes. You’re taking risks, you’re putting yourself on a potential arrow, that when you really discover new things, and you rejuvenate.’ And that’s probably why she decided to give it a shot.”