Benedict Cumberbatch to Portray Pete Seeger in Bob Dylan Biopic ‘A Complete Unknown’

Benedict Cumberbatch has reportedly been cast as folk icon Pete Seeger in the upcoming Bob Dylan biopic A Complete Unknown.

Director James Mangold revealed the news to Deadline at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival following a screening of his latest movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.


Seeger, who died in 2014 at age 94, played a significant role in Dylan’s early musical career in the 1960s, helping facilitate his record label contract and inviting him to perform perform at the Newport Folk Festival.

A Complete Unknown stars Timothée Chalamet as Dylan, Monica Barbaro as Joan Baez, and Elle Fanning in an unspecified role. Woody Guthrie will also be portrayed in the movie, though the actor cast for the role has not yet been announced. The biopic is scheduled to begin production in August.

The project is based on Elijah Wald’s book Dylan Goes Electric and a script from Jay Cocks.

As previously reported, Mangold confirmed that Chalamet will do his own singing in the forthcoming Searchlight Pictures film. During an interview with Collider at London’s Star Wars Celebration in early April, the director was asked whether the actor would do his own crooning in the biopic, instead of dubbing in Dylan’s voice. Mangold replied, “Of course!”

“It’s such an amazing time in American culture,” Mangold said when asked what drew him to the Dylan film. “The story of a young, 19-year-old Bob Dylan coming to New York with like two dollars in his pocket and becoming a worldwide sensation within three years — first being embraced into the family of folk music in New York and then, of course, kind of outrunning them at a certain point as his star rises so beyond belief. It’s such an interesting true story and about such an interesting moment in the American scene.”

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