No one can accuse Haynes of not breaking the mold when it comes to the all-too-predictable pop biopic. In his underground Karen Carpenter film “Superstar,” he used Barbie dolls to paint an unsettling depiction of anorexia nervosa and distorted self-image; in “Velvet Goldmine,” he rendered the glamrock movement as a glittery panorama of self-invention.
With “I’m Not There,” he takes the self-invention idea a quantum leap beyond by portraying Bob Dylan through a prism of alter egos. “I really tried to find places in his life that were echoed by his imagination, where he was kind of inventing himself and totally indulging in certain genres of music that I found correlations in film genres for,” says Haynes. “(Glamrock icon David) Bowie said it best: It’s not who did it first that matters, it’s who did it second. I just think that’s so bright, so right on.”