Timothée Chalamet Is Channeling His Viral High School Rap Persona for ‘A Complete Unknown’ Bob Dylan Biopic
Timothée Chalamet is throwing it back to his Lil Timmy Tim days.
The Oscar-nominated actor revealed his musical inspirations going into Bob Dylan biopic “A Complete Unknown,” which is set to start production this August. Elle Fanning co-stars. Chalamet has been attached to the James Mangold period piece since 2020 and will be performing Dylan’s songs onscreen.
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“I’ve been preparing for forever,” Chalamet told Vogue of working with a vocal coach every day.
Yet Chalamet’s musical inclinations go back over a decade, with his viral Lil Timmy Tim rap performances and a special “Cabaret” production at his LaGuardia performing arts high school in New York City.
“I can’t expect anyone outside of the New York City public school system to know this, but there is a production of ‘Cabaret’ at LaGuardia, class of 2013, that you can watch on YouTube,” Chalamet said, citing his performance as Emcee in the musical. “I remember the New York Times critic Ben Brantley saying very nice things about it, so I’m going to emphasize that.”
The “Wonka” actor also infamously parodied Soundcloud rappers alongside Pete Davidson in a 2020 “Saturday Night Live” sketch. Chalamet is set to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese for a Chanel men’s fragrance ad and will star in “Dune: Part Two.”
The “Call Me By Your Name” alum has been attached to the Dylan biopic since 2020. Originally titled “Going Electric,” the film was shelved amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I haven’t stopped preparing, which has been one of the greatest gifts for me,” Chalamet said in 2022. “It’s been a wonderful experience getting to dive into that world, whether we get to make it or not. But without giving anything away — because I don’t want to beat anyone to the punch, and obviously things have to come together officially — the winds that are blowing are blowing in a very positive direction.”
Chalamet revealed in a GQ cover story that he rented a home in Woodstock, New York, to prepare to embody Dylan. The “Call Me By Your Name” star also went to Dylan’s previous homes in New York City and read the memoir “Chronicles: Volume One,” plus met with “Inside Llewyn Davis” director Joel Coen for more insights on the 1960s folk scene.
“A Complete Unknown” director Mangold confirmed in April 2023 that production was starting in August and will center on Dylan’s early career.
“It’s such an amazing time in American culture and the story of a young, 19-year-old Bob Dylan coming to New York with like two dollars in his pocket and becoming a worldwide sensation within three years — first being embraced into the family of folk music in New York and then, of course, kind of outrunning them at a certain point as his star rises so beyond belief,” Mangold said. “It’s such an interesting true story and about such an interesting moment in the American scene.”
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