Remember when Colin Farrell was originally scheduled to play a character in the Bob Dylan biopic, "I'm Not There"? Well, he was. What part was he supposed to play? No one really knew at the time, but according to a MTV interview with Heath Ledger, it appears, that the Aussie actor replaced Farrell at the last minute when he pulled out of the film (Farrell was going through his much-reported rehab issues right after "Miami Vice" at the time).
MTV: There are a few Dylans you could have portrayed in this. Was it always going to be [the New Morning-era] Robbie [Clark] for you?
Ledger: I had no choice, really. Michelle [Williams] was cast in the movie before I was. And I read her script. Another guy was playing Robbie, and he pulled out at the last minute. I just kind of put my hand up and said, "I'll be in Montreal. I'd love to be a part of the project." And Todd said, "OK."
Wait, Maybe It Was Adrien Brody?
Pretty much sums it up, no?
No other major actor that we know of was supposed to be in the film and then pulled out. WRONG. We totally forgot, Adrien Brody was once apart of this thing (thanks to the astute reader). Perhaps he was the actor that Ledger replaced? Not quite, it looks like it was Farrell that Ledger replaced (which would make sense, we couldn't see Brody playing that particular Dylan), so who was Brody originally scheduled to play?. Given the fact that the original announcement doesn't have Christian Bale in it, we can safely assume Brody was scheduled to play the dual prophet/preacher roles (or at least one of those two).
Ledger said he loved the heady script when he read it. "It was a fantastic read," he told MTV. "Obviously it was dense, as you can imagine. You immediately understand that here's this man, [director] Todd [Haynes], who's clearly crazy [laughs], super intelligent and out to really create a respectful attempt to portray Dylan. He wasn't trying to categorize him in any way. He wasn't assuming to know everything about him. And that was really refreshing. Biopics kind of annoy me sometimes. It's really hard not to defame someone when you're doing a biopic. I got the sense that Todd was really trying to preserve Dylan's mystique."
Naturally, MTV spent the rest of the time asking about Batman/'Dark Knight' (Ledger plays the Joker) and more big, bang, pow films, but the rest of the short part of the "I'm Not There" interview went like this.
MTV: Did you see this as an opportunity to really get into researching Dylan?
Ledger: It's a wonderful excuse to research this figure. I knew very little about Dylan prior to the movie. I knew the obvious songs and a little bit about his history. It was a good excuse to crack open the files, watch the documentaries, read the books and expand my catalog of his music. Therefore, my appreciation of him expanded also.
MTV: What struck you most about Dylan from the research?
Ledger: He was such a chameleon. He had this ability to avoid conforming to public demands and people's expectations. He was constantly evolving, and he let his art evolve as he evolved and grew and matured. That's something I certainly respect.
MTV: If you see Dylan on the street tomorrow are you going to ask him what he thought or are you going to run in the other direction?
Ledger: I'm going to run in the other direction for sure. [He laughs.]
MTV: Why is that?
Ledger: I don't know. There are some people that I admire greatly that I wish not to meet in my lifetime. I think he's best left in the shadows for me.
Oh we know why: Ledger's character in "I'm Not There" is the chauvinistic ass depiction of Dylan in the film; one that director Todd Haynes has freely admitted is the least fictional 'Dylan' character of them all, outside possibly the very allegorical Billy The Kid/Richard Gere character.