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Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Pete Seeger Alongside Timothée Chalamet’s Bob Dylan in Biopic

Director James Mangold reveals casting news at Cannes before A Complete Unknown goes into production in August

Benedict Cumberbatch will portray folk legend Pete Seeger alongside Timothée Chalamet’s Bob Dylan in the upcoming biopic A Complete Unknown.

James Mangold revealed Cumberbatch’s casting at the Cannes Film Festival, where the director’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny premiered earlier this week, Deadline reports.

The Dylan biopic — previously titled Going Electric before swapping with the “Like a Rolling Stone” lyric — will begin production this August, with Top Gun: Maverick’s Monica Barbaro playing Joan Baez and Elle Fanning also cast in an unspecified role.

“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,” Mangold previously told Collider. “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. It’s such an interesting true story and about such an interesting moment in the American scene.”

As Rolling Stone reported in Jan. 2020 when the film was first announced, Seeger, Baez, the then-hospitalized Woody Guthrie and other key figures of the folk scene will also be characters in the movie, which is based on Elijah Wald’s 2015 book Dylan Goes Electric and features a screenplay penned by Jay Cocks.


Cumberbatch-as-Seeger will likely play a sizable role in the film, just as Seeger had an enormous impact on the young Dylan, from helping him land a record contract to furthering his activism to inviting him to play at Newport Folk Festival

Mangold previously announced that Chalamet “of course” would be providing his own vocals to Dylan’s music in the biopic.

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