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COLUMN EIGHTY-SIX, MARCH 1, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)

MASKED AND ANONYMOUS
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MASKED AND ANONYMOUS
Directed by Larry Charles
Written by Rene Fontaine and Sergy Petrov (possibly pseudonyms for Bob Dylan and Larry Charles?)
Based on the unpublished short story 'Los Vientos del Destino' by Enrique Morales (possibly Bob Dylan pseudonym?)
In Production: June/July 2002 in Los Angeles
Release: Summer 2003 (Sundance/Cannes?)
Masked and Anonymous Photo Page


Bob Dylan
'Jack Fate'

Luke Wilson
'Bobby Cupid'
Roadie

Penelope Cruz
'Pagan Lace'

Jessica Lange
concert promoter
Nina Veronica

Jeff Bridges
Journalist
Tom Friend

John Goodman
'Uncle Sweetheart'
Jack's Agent

Angela Bassett
'Mistress'

Mickey Rourke
The President


Laura Harring
as herself

Ed Harris

Val Kilmer

Christian Slater


Giovanni Ribisi

Also:
Chris Penn
Bruce Dern
Cheech Marin
Fred Ward
Susan Tyrell
Steven Bauer
Richard Sarafian
Jon Sklaroff (Young Fate)

 

January 2003

Masked & Anonymous: The Reviews
CultureDose.com - A Good Review!!! - Bob Dylan: New Shakespeare of the Movies
The Globe & Mail: Dylan unmasked as movie's writer
Chicago Sun -Times: Sundance's biggest star by Roger Ebert
Salt Lake Tribune: Dylan Ducks Out
LA Times: Making Movies
Daily Telegraph - It's Been A Hard Reign
Aint-It-Cool-News - Masked & Anonymous with Bob Dylan!
Rocky Mountain News - Mystique takes a hit in Dylan's 'Masked'
Detroit Free Press - Not masked or anonymous, but pretty well covered
UseNet - Masked and Anonymous - a review
UseNet - I think I'll stop raving now

Masked & Anonymous Premieres at Sundance
Loads of first night coverage on web and paper media. Here's a selection:
The Salt Lake Tribune: Photo: Sundance Sight
Jam! Showbiz: Cast just a-blowin' in Sundance wind
Europemedia.net: Microsoft fetes Hollywood at Sundance
13 pictures at Yahoo! News Pictures
37 photos at WireImage.com - search for 'Bob Dylan'
Premier Night Out - Sky News

Masked and Anonymous Web Site Launches!
http://www.maskedandanonymous-themovie.com/ complete with 2 video clips, pictures and a mailing list!

Sundance Press Coverage
As the Sundance Premier draws ever closer the press coverage begins to crank up. In true 'Expecting Rain' stule I'll just include links to general stories but will expand on anything new or interesting...
Sundance hopefuls set to face the music - bayarea.com
Billboard Bits: Bob Dylan - billboard.com (rehash of distribution rights story)
Promising films set the scene at Sundance - boston.com
Dylan's Masked & Anonymous gets distro - cinescape.com
Sundance: MASKED AND ANONYMOUS - aint-it-cool-news.com
Sony Snags Dylan's Masked & Anonymous - filmforce.com

IMDb Masked and Anonymous page
The Internet Movie Database has launched its Maked &Anonymous page, confirming the cast list and character names:
Bob Dylan .... Jack Fate; John Goodman .... Uncle Sweetheart; Jessica Lange .... Nina Veronica; Luke Wilson .... Bobby Cupid;
Jeff Bridges .... Tom Friend; Penélope Cruz .... Pagan Lace; Angela Bassett .... Mistress; Steven Bauer; Bruce Dern;
Alex Désert .... Nestor; Treva Etienne; Dan Frischman .... Eddie Quicksand; Laura Elena Harring (as Laura Harring);
Ed Harris; Shawn Michael Howard .... Nestor; Val Kilmer; Reggie Lee .... Armed Man; Antonio David Lyons .... Government Soldier;
Cheech Marin; Chris Penn; Giovanni Ribisi; Mickey Rourke .... The President;
Sam Sarpong .... Blunt;
Jon Sklaroff .... The young Jack Fate; Christian Slater; Shirley Jones (III) .... Third-World Prostitute (uncredited)

Dylan Film Picked Up by Distributor
The Hollywood Reporter tells us that with 'Only one week before it premieres at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, the Bob Dylan flick Masked & Anonymous has been acquired by distributor Sony Pictures Classics.
This marks the beginning of what is sure to be a frenzy of wheeling and dealing at the festival, as studios try to snap up promising films for distribution. Anonymous has been widely anticipated, and not just because it's Dylan's first major feature-film role since 1987's Hearts of Fire. Sony Pictures co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard told The Hollywood Reporter, "Bob is a legendary artist who has created a loyal and profound following; this is a film that audiences will embrace and is relevant to the times." '

December 2002

Masked and Anonymous confirmed for Sundance
Premiere of Masked and Anonymous would appear to be scheduled for 6:00pm on 22 January 2003 at the Eccles Centre as part of next years Sundance Festival. It's listed as a 'Centrepiece Premier' - check out the listing at the Sundance Site. If you can't access the 5MB+ pdf file (the on-line list isn't available yet) Dag has kindly put the relevant page up at his NorthCountryBlues site.
The write up promises much, and suggests there's a finished film in the can: 'There is such a creative audacity to Masked and Anonymous, such a flow of ideas and provocations, transported by a literal barage of wit, performance and, of course, song that one comes away from the challenge of this rather singular undertaking provoked by its elements and satiated by its feats.'
The picture from the programme can be seen on the
Masked and Anonymous Photo Page.

October 2002

Penelope Cruz interview
Penelepe Crus was on UK TV today promoting the 'Voices of Hope' charity CD. She mentioned she'd just made a film with Dylan but suggested she didn't share any screen time with him. She caught up with him at their dentist where she persuaded him to take part!

All Quiet...
Well into post-production and all is quiet regarding Masked & Anonymous. I expect it to stay that way until a preview trailer is released, though I've no idea when that might be. The cast have also been fairly quiet on the filming, though Jessica Lange referred to the filming at a recent Spanish Press Conference as being one of her recent 'most rewarding experiences'


August 2002

Larry Campbell has spent part the summer working on the set of "Masked and Anonymous"
The web site of band member Larry Campbell promises some more backstage pictures from the film set. Not there yet (1 August) but promised 'in a few days'. These photos are now on-line!


July 2002

Dylan takes the stage and screen in 'Masked' By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
In Masked and Anonymous, Bob Dylan is cast against type as underachieving cult singer Jack Fate, a weary troubadour mustering energies for a final benefit concert. The movie, due next spring, also draws on the reality-based iconic Dylan in relating a futuristic tragicomic myth that director Larry Charles dubs "Shakespeare told by John Cassavetes." Dylan will be unmasked in Masked, Charles promises.
"The irony is, I didn't want him to fully lose himself in his character, which has the laconic quality of a film-noir or spaghetti-Western hero," he says. "I wanted him to draw upon his thoughts, memories, emotions and his incredible history to infuse the character. He doesn't relate to himself as the powerful force we see. To me, Bob is like a post-apocalyptic Humphrey Bogart in this movie."
Though better known in film circles for the groundbreaking 1967 documentary Don't Look Back, Dylan adopted fictional personas for 1973's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, 1978's Renaldo and Clara and 1987's Hearts of Fire.
His return to the big screen attracted a slew of Hollywood brand names eager to work with the bard. The cast boasts John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Lange, Angela Bassett and Luke Wilson, plus cameos by Val Kilmer, Chris Penn, Mickey Rourke, Christian Slater and Ed Harris.
They provided "a crash course in acting" for Dylan, says Charles, whose first film follows a decade of writing, directing and producing TV series from Seinfeld and Mad About You to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Masked and Anonymous, the first project by Spitfire Productions, finished shooting last week in Los Angeles with Dylan's lively performance of rock, gospel and country tunes. As Fate would have it, a soundtrack is inevitable.

Rex Features has more photos from the set.

HOLLYWOOD (Variety)
By Army Archerd, Daily Variety Senior Columnist
'There was a special Bob Dylan concert Thursday.(17 July). It was not on the tour, although he was joined by regular band members
Larry Campbell, Tony Garnier, George Recile and Charlie Sexton. The "concert" was for Dylan's final scene in "Masked and Anonymous," which was filming on Stage 6 of Ray-Art Studios in Canoga Park. Among the songs he played/recorded for the film -- the traditional "Dixie.". But he also played "If You See Her, Say Hello", "I'll Remember You", "Dirt Road Blues" and some new songs yet to be recorded -- on both electric and acoustic guitars. The all-star film is being shot with 24-frame digital cameras by Larry
Charles, making his feature bow following dozens of TV successes (including two Emmys for "Seinfeld"). He says the footage looks
fabulous. Many of the cast, although not working Thursday, returned to the set to catch the filming of the Dylan concert. They included Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Steven Bauer and Jessica Lange.
In the story, set sometime in the future, John Goodman plays Uncle Sweetheart, the manager of Dylan's character Jack Fate. Goodman
described the manager as "a combination Don King and Colonel Tom Parker." Goodman drove out from New Orleans to play the role. "I'm still pinching myself that I'm in this movie with him."
Besides Dylan's obvious musical talent -- "He's always singing between takes -- and he's very funny" -- Goodman allows, he took the role "as a labor of love." The same could be said for the rest of the cast, as producer Nigel Sinclair told me the film is budgeted "below $10 million and above $5(million)." And the cast is paid "on an appropriate working formula to share proceeds" -- plus Dylan's share with his Destiny Prods. Sinclair, who produces with Jeff Rosen for Spitfire Prods., says they were able to assemble the cast because of director Charles' relationship with Dylan.
The six major players are Dylan, Goodman, Lange, Luke Wilson, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz. The supporting players: Harris, Kilmer, Angela Bassett, Giovanni Ribisi, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Dern, Christian Slater,Chris Penn, Cheech Marin and Bauer.
In addition to the finale concert, Dylan and his music are heard throughout the film's story. With no release deal made, they hope to
launch it next year at Sundance.'

Missed the set photos? - Here's TV Talkin's Masked and Anonymous Photo Page!

17 July 2002 - If things went to schedule, shooting for 'Masked and Anonymous' wrapped (as they say in the movie business) today.

Three More Photos from the shoot
(at DylanTree) from Star magazine
Bob and Penelope Cruz #1
Bob and Penelope Cruz #2
Bob and Penelope Cruz #3

Jon Sklaroff (Sympatico) (thanks to Derek for the link)
'Jon Sklaroff has been added to the cast of Intermedia Films' "Masked & Anonymous" for director Larry Charles. In the film, Bob Dylan stars as Jack Fate, whom Sklaroff will play as a young boy. His credits include "Three Kings" and "Life Without Dick."'
Presumably this is the boy who will sing 'Times They Are-a Changin''?

Various sources confirm shooting is due to wrap on 17 July 2002.

NEW YORK POST
-- Dylan Tries The Screen Again (5 July)
Usual rehash of the Daily Telegraph story (see below) but includes a Mickey Rourke quote that 'Dylan is doing an incredible ****ing job'. We also learn that 'Rourke plays a post-apocalyptic president of the United States and Dylan's childhood friend... For the past two years Dylan has been developing the BBC-funded flick, based on a short story by Enrique Morales, with "Seinfeld" co-producer Larry Charles, who's also directing. Dylan has kept the $15 million project shrouded in secrecy, but it reportedly will feature 40 minutes of live concert footage...

The Guardian
(UK, 5 July) Speculates on what 'Masked and Anonymous' might be like...

Post on rec.music.dylan newsgroup from someone who reckons they've read the script... could be a hoax, but an interesting read nontheless!


Variety.com (1 July)
'The Bob Dylan movie "Masked & Anonymous," a darkly poetic tale of a singer who has fallen from grace will mark the first production for Guy East and Nigel Sinclair's new shingle, Spitfire Pictures.'

Jeff Bridges on 'Masked and Anonymous' (jeffbridges.com)
'I landed a cool gig! I'm doing a movie with bob Dylan. It's called 'Masked and Anonymous'. It's got a great cast, including John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Christian Slater, Chris Penn, Bruce Dern, Cheech Marin, Fred Ward, Val Kilmer, Mickey Rourke, Susan Tyrell, Angela Bassett and Ed Harris. It's going to be shot on DV (Digital Video), a first for me. I haven't made a movie in about a year and this one, happily, has a sort of 'Our Gang' (Lil' Rascals) vibe to it... you know 'Come on, let's make a movie'. Our director, Larry Charles, is one of the Creators of 'Seinfeld'. I find it's a real interesting gathering of creative souls - I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of bird this egg will hatch.'

Variety Magazine (via Yahoo!)
Ed Harris and Giovanni Ribisi are the latest to join the Bob Dylan movie "Masked & Anonymous," a darkly poetic tale of a singer who has fallen from grace. Also set for the film's high-powered ensemble cast are Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson and Angela Bassett. Harris and Ribisi will take supporting roles, along with Steven Bauer, Bruce Dern, Laura Harring, Val Kilmer, Cheech Marin, Chris Penn, Mickey Rourke, Richard Sarafian, Christian Slater and Fred Ward.
"Seinfeld" veteran Larry Charles will direct the film, which is targeting a release in the first half of 2003. The filmmakers hope to take it to Sundance or Cannes next year. Shooting will finish July 15, about which time Dylan will record a concert for the film in Los Angeles. Nascent firm Spitfire Pictures. will co-finance "Anonymous" with Intermedia Films and BBC Films, and co-produce with Destiny Prods. and the BBC.

Masked & Anonymous Adds Harris & Ribisi (1 July) (Comingsoon.net)
The Hollywood Reporter says that Ed Harris and Giovanni Ribisi have been added to the roster of talent in Masked & Anonymous.

June 2002
Penelope Cruz discusses her role in 'Elle' Magazine
Cruz has signed on to play a disturbed young woman in Masked and Anonymous, an offbeat ensemble drama starring Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, and Bob Dylan as a jailed troubadour. With Masked, Cruz.....will finally get a chance to play more than just sexy onscreen. "Everybody is really weird—my character talks to herself," she says. "I’ve never seen anything like this movie, and I’ve never done anything like it."

First Pictures from the set of 'Maked And Anonymous'!! (Rex Features Picture Agency - Thanks to Christian for the link)
Bob with stetson 1
Bob with stetson 2
Bob with stetson 3
Bob with stetson 4
John Goodman 1
John Goodman 2
John Goodman 3
John Goodman 4

Billboard - Filming will have to be complete by August as Bob announces US Tour kicking off on 3rd August.

Film Journal
(more plot info)
"Bob Dylan, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Lange and Luke Wilson will star in Masked & Anonymous, the story of a disgraced singer who is forced to return to the stage for a final benefit concert. Written by Rene Fontaine and Sergy Petrov, the Intermedia picture marks the feature directing debut of “Seinfeld” writer-producer Larry Charles."

Dylan film attracts all-star cast By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent (Daily Telegraph 24/6/02)
Penelope Cruz, the girlfriend of Tom Cruise and one of the world's most sought after actresses, has agreed to appear in a BBC-funded film starring Bob Dylan for basic Equity rates. Dylan, still on an almost perpetual tour at the age of 61, is reviving his film career after a gap of almost 15 years. The BBC-produced venture's high-octane cast includes Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, John Goodman, Val Kilmer and Mickey Rourke. Most were so keen to appear with the rock legend, who brought out his first album 40 years ago, that they have agreed to appear for minimum rates or for pay deferments.
Shooting for Masked and Anonymous, an independent film with a budget of less than $10 million (£6.9 million), started in secret last week. David Thompson, the head of BBC Films, which is co-producing the project with the new American firm Spitfire Pictures, said yesterday that other well-known stars had wanted to be in the film but that there were not enough parts for them all. Though Dylan's acting record is unexceptional, his reputation has been boosted by two recent successful albums after a long period in the musical wilderness, prompting some of Hollywood's finest actors to fall over themselves to appear alongside him. The anthem writer of the 1960s protest movement is the central character, playing an ageing rock singer, Jack Fate - not himself, but not unlike himself. The film will feature at least 30 minutes of Dylan performing several of his classics plus, it is believed, at least one new song.
It is set in apocalyptic times in an unnamed country - which could easily be the United States - where order and morality have broken down. Dylan is released from prison to play one last stadium concert in an attempt to save the world. He is surrounded by corrupt politicians and manipulative business men with other agendas. One of his greatest numbers, The Times They Are A Changin', will be sung by a young boy. Cruz plays a prostitute and the girlfriend of Bridges, a journalist. Lange is a cynical concert promoter and Goodman is Fate's agent in the screenplay based on a short story by Enrique Morales.
Dylan, who has spent a lifetime cultivating an air of mystery, is believed to have wanted filming to begin with no publicity or fanfare. He had been quietly developing the film, with director Larry Charles, co-producer of the television series Seinfeld, for about two years.
They hope to show it at the Sundance or Cannes film festivals next year, and that the combination of music and actors will turn it into a cult classic.
Dylan's appeal may be more than just music - one body of opinion compares his lyrics favourably with those of Keats and some scholars regularly lobby for him to be given the Nobel Prize for Literature - but his screen career has not been a conspicuous success.
His last two big films, Renaldo and Clara (1978) with Joan Baez, and Hearts of Fire (1987) with the late Ian Dury and Rupert Everett, were dismissed by the critics as turkeys. His best role was probably as Alias, a mysteriously silent troubador who spends most of his time picking his teeth with a knife in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (1973). The singer has not told his collaborators why he wants to make the new film. But they believe that the big success of his last two albums, Time Out Of Mind and Love And Theft, and an Oscar last year for best original sound in the Michael Douglas film Wonder Boys, have buoyed him up and left him seeking new challenges. "The film is going to be terribly exciting" Mr Thompson said. "It is very bold, not heavy and portentous but very witty and wry. I think you can tell from the calibre of the people who want to work with him, and how quickly they agreed to come on board, that his reputation is still enormous."

Irish Times (20/6/02)
"In one of his rare movie roles, Bob Dylan is taking the starring role in Masked and Anonymous, which started shooting this week in Los Angeles. The first feature directed by Larry Charles, the film is described as a fable-like musical drama set in a nameless country wracked by an endless and senseless civil war in which all have forgotten what they are fighting about. Dylan stars as Jack Fate, a washed up singer wrestling with his personal demons on the eve of his final benefit concert, a massive event intended to revive his career and to bring peace to the country. the movie will feature 40 minutes of music from Dylan. including new songs written specially for the film.the eclectic cast also included Jessica Luke Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Mickey Rourke, Angela Bassett and Val Kilmer."

LA Daily News (5/6/02)
Reports that production is set to begin on 17 June 2002 and last about a month - there are currently two roles still uncast - the role of Fate's father and a young girl who will sing 'The times they are a-changin' whilst holding a gun...

E-Drive Gossip
Mulholland Drive's Laura Harring rumoured to be appearing.

Angela Bassett joins the cast. "Bassett, currently working on the Bob Dylan musical drama Masked & Anonymous with Penelope Cruz, Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges." (USA Today)
Bassett will play Mistress, who has a past with Fate.


May 2002
Penelope Cruz, Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange join the cast.
Hello! Magazine - "Cruz is about to kick off filming with American music legend Bob Dylan on Masked And Anonymous - a comedy about a musician released from prison for one last concert, also starring John Goodman, Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges."

jessicalange.net:
"May 2, 2002: Penelope Cruz, Jessica Lange and Luke Wilson will star opposite Bob Dylan in "Masked & Anonymous," with Jeff Bridges also in negotiations to join the cast. The Intermedia Films project marks the feature directorial debut of "Seinfeld" writer-producer Larry Charles.
Written by Rene Fontaine and Sergy Petrov and based on Enrique Morales' unpublished short story "Los Vientos del Destino," "Masked & Anonymous" tells the story of a singer (Dylan) who has fallen from grace and is forced to return to the stage for a final benefit concert. The film is slated to go into production this July in Los Angeles. "

"Penelope Cruz has committed to star in Masked and Anonymous opposite Bob Dylan and Jessica Lange, despite her declared intent to take a break from film-making. The movie, based on an unpublished short story by Enrique Morales, is about a wandering troubadour named Jack Fate (Dylan) who is released from prison to perform one final concert for charity. Cruz will play the girlfriend of a burnt-out reporter assigned to cover the concert who falls in love with Fate. Luke Wilson has already been confirmed to star as one of Fate's former roadies."


April 2002
'Masked and Anonymous' - more details announced
Luke Wilson will star opposite rocker Bob Dylan in "Masked & Anonymous," the big-screen directorial debut of television writer-director-producer Larry Charles.
The film is set to go into production in July. Based on the unpublished short story "Los Vientos del Destino," written by Enrique Morales, it is the story of Jack Fate (Bob Dylan), a wandering troubadour brought out of prison by his former manager for one last concert. Luke Wilson is playing Bobby Cupid, a former roadie of Fate's who tends bar. He drops everything to join Fate in the charity concert. (Fetal Films)

Enrique Morales (Spanish)


February 2002

Dylan Knockin' On Big Screen Again
"It looks like Bob Dylan's blowin' back into theaters. The folk-rock maestro has signed on to star in the feature-length drama Masked and Anonymous for Intermedia Films--it will be his first major acting role in 15 years. Dylan will step into a role that's practically tailor-made for him, playing a character by the name of Jack Fate, an itinerant bluesman who's sprung from prison by his former manager so he can perform one last show. Veteran television producer-director Larry Charles (Mad About You, Seinfeld) is slated to make his feature debut on the project, which is being produced by Intermedia's Nigel Sinclair who has spent more than a year developing the script written by newcomers Rene Fontaine and Sergy Petrov. "The character of Jack Fate is not unlike Bob Dylan's persona, so he is a natural for this role," Sinclair tells the Hollywood Reporter. "This has been Larry Charles' passion project, and we feel fortunate to be associated with this."
(E! Online)

Dylan returns to the screen (27 February 2002)
Bob Dylan is planning a return to the screen after a 15 year absence. The legendary singer, who won an Oscar last year for his song Things Have Changed, will star in Masked and Anonymous for Intermedia Films, according to Variety.
Dylan will play Jack Fate, an imprisoned singer who is released to perform a final concert. The film will feature some of Dylan's songs, but it's not known whether he will be writing any new ones specifically for the project.
Dylan has not had a large part in a feature film since 1987's Hearts of Fire, in which he co-starred with Rupert Everett. His role in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is thought to be his best acting performance.
Shooting on Masked and Anonymous is scheduled to begin in June, under first time director Larry Charles.
(The Guardian)

Script Sale Logged:
Title: Masked & Anonymous
Log Line: A wandering troubadour finds his destiny.
Writer: Rene Fontaine and Sergy Petrov
Agent: n/a
Buyer: Intermedia Films
Price: n/a
Genre: Drama
Logged: 2/27/02
More: Larry Charles to direct. Bob Dylan to star in. Dylan will write original material and or use existing songs for the film.

 

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