A recent issue of the New Yorker features a profile of the Italian director Luca Guadagnino, which focuses mostly on his acclaimed 2017 film Call Me by Your Name and his new remake of the 1977 horror film Suspiria. Buried toward the end of the piece is a hint about a surprising upcoming project: a cinematic adaptation of Bob Dylan’s classic 1975 album Blood on the Tracks.
According to the New Yorker‘s Nathan Heller, a producer of Call Me by Your Name acquired the film rights to the album and asked Guadagnino to direct it. He agreed, and recruited The Fisher King screenwriter Richard LaGravenese to help him turn Dylan’s impressionistic tales of love and loss into a single epic narrative. Here’s the lone paragraph devoted to the project from Heller’s piece:
The usual stream of Guadagnino’s friends came around, including the screenwriter Richard LaGravenese. Guadagnino calls LaGravenese “this guy that I totally and completely love!,” and LaGravenese calls Guadagnino “the first director who has allowed me to write fully emotional moments.” A producer of “Call Me by Your Name” had acquired the theatrical rights to “Blood on the Tracks,” the album by Bob Dylan, and had asked Guadagnino to make it into a movie. Sure, Guadagnino had said, but only if LaGravenese, whom he had never met, wrote it. (LaGravenese had previously written “The Fisher King,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” and, most exciting to Guadagnino, Demme’s adaptation of “Beloved.”) Somehow, the moon shot landed. LaGravenese cleared his schedule and, between April and July, hunkered down to produce a hundred-and-eighty-eight-page screenplay following characters through a multiyear story, set in the seventies, that he and Guadagnino had invented, drawing on the album’s central themes. “When they’re repressing, we dramatize the repression, and what that does to them,” LaGravenese says. “And we dramatize what happens when you let your passions take over too much.”
For now, we’ll have to wonder about the particulars. Is it a musical? Is the protagonist a version of Dylan himself or someone else? Will there be any scenes that take place on a fishing boat, right outside of Delacroix?
Blood on the Tracks is having a bit of a moment. Aside from the Guadagnino film, it’s also the subject of Dylan’s latest Bootleg Series release, a forthcoming set entitled More Blood, More Tracks that will feature unreleased versions, incomplete takes, and other ephemera from the original recording sessions.