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Todd Haynes Does Dylan Times Six

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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JUST LIKE A WOMAN Blanchett as Dylan

Todd Haynes, director of I'm Not There, the much ballyhooed Bob Dylan biopic, brought down the house Tuesday at a New York Film Festival event when asked by an audience member whether he'd underplayed the "enormous importance of the African-American tradition."

Haynes referred to an 11-year-old African American boy, one of six actors who play Dylan in the film, saying, "I can't imagine getting deeper into Bob Dylan's African-American influence than turning him black!"

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Apparently, the director was in a goofy mood. Another audience member observed that there was a lot of Fellini in Cate Blanchett's character (another of the six Dylans). Haynes touched his own face and fired back: "You've got a little Fellini right there!" As for having a woman play the 1966, post-motorcycle-crash Dylan, the director did his best to describe the troubadour's androgynous phase, likening him more to Patti Smith than David Bowie. "For all the ways that Dylan is associated as a guy's artist or a heterosexual kind of icon, his flamboyance and foppery during that time were profound, and it must have been a freaker for people at the time."

Asked what Bob himself thought of the flick, Haynes said, "Dylan hasn't seen the movie yet, as far as we know."

I'm Not There shows Thursday at the New York Film Festival and opens nationwide November 21.

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