The idea of making a movie out of Bob Dylan’s 1975 album Blood on the Tracks is ludicrous, and not just because the brilliant, weird movie I’m Not There already burned through all the best, most inventive ideas for who could possibly play Bob Dylan. If you do Blood on the Tracks as a straight narrative of a relationship breaking down, reducing the music to background atmospherics, you lose all the weird brilliance of the world Dylan’s created. And if you try to od it as a series of short vignettes, it’s hard to think how the narrative might work. But as long as this thing’s in the works anyway, here are five ideas for who should play some of the more entertaining characters on Dylan’s album:
-The Ex-Husband from “Tangled Up in Blue”: If “she was married when we first met / soon to be divorced,” it’s worth remembering that someone else got their heart broken before Dylan’s operatic love story even got kickstarted. John Hawkes is awfully good at portraying hope that expects to be disappointed, whether as Sol Star on Deadwood or paralyzed journalist Mark O’Brien in The Surrogate, about a paralyzed man who decides to lose his virginity, which will be major Oscar-bait when it comes out later this year. If anyone deserves to be in proximity to Bob Dylan, it’s him.
-The Parrot from “Simple Twist of Fate”: If the parrot from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is available, he’s definitely put in enough time in the background on a goofy project. Now’s his time to prove that he’s an artist.
-Mrs. Gray from “Idiot Wind”: Now that the American Pie franchise has come to a conclusion, Jennifer Coolidge is free from the obligations of obligations of playing Stifler’s mom. But she could put that experience to good use playing a sexy widow who runs off to Italy with someone inappropriate and an enormous amount of money. Maybe Eugene Levy can play Mr. Gray, who gets shot. Those eyebrows are great at conveying surprise.
-Lily, from “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”: Emma Stone got famous as a redhead, only to reveal that her natural hair color was actually blonde. So who better to play a gorgeous frontier girl who switches hair color as part of a life transformation. She’d be awesome in an adaptation of the most epic song on “Blood on the Tracks.” And now that David Milch is available, maybe he could dust himself off and go back to the frontier well. I would totally watch this as a stand-alone movie.
-The message-deliverer from “If You See Her, Say Hello”: It has to be pretty stressful being the go-between for Bob Dylan and a woman he’s broken up with. But Adam Pally deserves a European vacation after all the awesome work he’s put in on Happy Endings this year. And any awkward news is more palatable when delivered by a man who’s in full-on bear mode.