‘Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story’: What’s Not True
‘If anyone’s wearing a mask, they’re going to tell you the truth,’ says Bob Dylan midway through Martin Scorsese’s new Netflix movie Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story. “If he’s not wearing a mask, it’s highly unlikely.” In saying these words, Bob Dylan is most certainly not wear a mask. He is also in a documentary that sometimes strays from the truth by using actors to tell stories about the tour. The tactic is sure to confuse a lot of people, so here’s a guide to the various fictional elements of the film.
1. Teenage Sharon Stone didn’t join the Rolling Thunder Revue.
Many rock stars of the Bob Dylan era did indeed have relationships with teenage fans in the 1970s that could cause them great harm and embarrassment if the details were to surface today. Dylan, however, is the only one bold enough to go to great lengths to manufacture such a relationship for the sake of art. It comes halfway through the film when Sharon Stone (playing herself) talks about being a 19-year-old college student when the Rolling Thunder Revue came to her town, then hitting the road with the tour for a brief period afterwards. that Dylan has taken a liking to her. None of this is true and the photos of them together are fake. (She would also have been 17 at the time, but the gag is a little less funny if she’s underage.)
2. Dylan hasn’t seen a Kiss concert in Queens.
In the film, Dylan says he got the idea to wear white makeup on the Rolling Thunder Revue after Scarlet Rivera took him to a Kiss concert in Queens. But Kiss hasn’t played in Queens since February 1973, when they started and long before Dylan met Rivera. They were tiny club gigs by a totally unknown band. No way Dylan was one of them and he didn’t come up with the makeup idea from them either. By most accounts, the makeup was inspired by the 1945 French film Children of Paradise.
3. A mystery man named Stefan van Dorp did not make the original footage.
During the entire 1975 leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue, Dylan was shooting the movie Renaldo and Clara with almost all members of the performance troupe. Raw footage from the film drives this new documentary, but Scorsese’s film never once mentions Renaldo and Clara. Instead, he interviews a supposed tour filmmaker named Stefan van Dorp who shot the whole thing and never got enough credit for his work. Such a person does not exist. It’s actually Martin von Haselberg of the 1970s performance art duo, the Kipper Kids, who plays a role. He is also married to Bette Midler, who can briefly be seen with Dylan at a club in Greenwich Village at the start of the film.
4. There is no Congressman Jack Tanner.
Near the end of the film, a supposed Michigan representative named Jack Tanner talks about using his connection to Jimmy Carter to perform at a Rolling Thunder show in Niagara Falls. It’s actually actor Michael Murphy. The name Jack Tanner comes from Robert Altman’s 1988 campaign mockumentary Tanner ’88, which was written by Garry Trudeau.
5. Jim Gianopulos did not promote the tour
Jim Gianopulos is a man of many accomplishments. He worked as the co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment for 12 years and is now the CEO of Paramount Pictures. But he didn’t promote the Rolling Thunder Revue. At the time, he was attending Fordham Law School. He’s a surprisingly good actor, through.
None of this takes away from the power of the documentary. After all, it is a story that has been told many times in many media. Adding some fictional elements with these amazing and never-before-seen images makes the whole thing more fun and interesting. “We hope people watch it multiple times to unlock its various Easter eggs,” a source close to Dylan Camp said. Rolling stone. “Documentary footage can be used in any way you want to tell a story and we hope people will understand what thrills them about this film.”