I’m Not There, in theaters now, takes an experimental approach to the traditional biopic form by presenting its subject, Bob Dylan, as a variety of personifications. Among others, those playing the great musician include Heath Ledger, Cate Blanchett and Richard Gere. Director and writer Todd Haynes asked Oren Moverman to co-author the script with him in the fall of 2003. Haynes’ script for Far From Heaven (2002) earned him an Oscar nomination and his legendary underground movies exert an influence that Moverman himself recognizes by saying in a New York Times article “I know people who wanted to become filmmakers after they saw Safe [Haynes’s 2005 metaphorical study of the AIDS epidemic] I can give names.”
Since Moverman’s first screenplay, Jesus’ Son (1999), a redeeming narcodrama starring Billy Crudup, he has co-authored another script with director Bertha Bay-Sa Pan, Face (2002), about honor and family. The chance to work on I’m Not There presented Moverman with unique instructions on his job as a screenwriter. “[Haynes] kept saying, ‘We’re not writing a screenplay; we’re interpreting,'” says Moverman in the New York Times article of I’m Not There. The non-traditional telling of Dylan’s story may elicit confusion in some, but the artistic care taken with each scene by up-and-comer Moverman and Oscar-nominee Haynes will convince the majority of what the two writers already know–that a fractured, multi-faceted movie is the only way such an expansive artist as Dylan can be represented.