Last month, Bob Dylan announced More Blood, More Tracks as the latest installment in his ongoing Bootleg Series, a collection featuring “every surviving take” from the original sessions for his 1975 classic Blood on the Tracks. Now, fans of that seminal album have another project to look forward to, as a New Yorker profile on Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria director Luca Guadagnino reveals that he’ll direct a feature adaptation of the album.
As the profile outlines, Call Me By Your Name producer Nathan Heller acquired the film rights to the album and brought the project to Guadagnino, who would only make it if the adaptation was written by The Bridges of Madison County and The Fisher King screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, who, at the time, Guadagnino had never met. LaGravenese produced a 188-page script set in the 70s that swirls around the album’s core themes.
From the New Yorker:
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.”
With the project, Guadagnino continues to distinguish himself as one of Hollywood’s strangest and most flexible directors. He’s apparently made magic from his surprising remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic, so there’s no reason not to be optimistic about his journey into the Dylan universe.
Fans of Dylan long suspected that Blood on the Tracks was inspired by the disintegration of Dylan’s marriage from his wife, Sara. However, in his 2004 memoir, Chronicles, Vol. 1, Dylan said the album has nothing to do with his own personal experiences, but were inspired by the short stories of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.
Below, watch the video for the album’s opening track, “Tangled Up In Blue”: