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The Freewheelin’ Hayden

He wanted to act like Dylan.

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If Harvey Weinstein & Co. get sued by Bob Dylan over his depiction in the new Edie Sedgwick biopic Factory Girl, they’ll have Hayden Christensen to blame. Christensen plays “Musician” in the film. In the original script, the character, a famous folk singer with curly hair, was called “Bob Dylan.” According to director George Hickenlooper, “We couldn’t get insurance for the movie, so then we changed his name and made him this sixties version of Bono.” But when Christensen showed up for work, he said, “'Wasn’t this character Dylan?’ And I said, ‘Yeah,’” says the director. Christensen wanted to play it as Dylan, so he said okay. “Hayden made that decision. He was the linchpin for getting financing for the movie, so who’s going to tell him no? Sienna Miller had no box-office value at that point.” Then Dylan’s lawyers threatened to sue for defamation. Not over Christensen’s poorly reviewed imitation: The fear was that the Dylan character appeared to be somehow culpable, after they broke up, in Sedgwick’s spiraling into drug addiction; eventually, she OD’d. In the end, “I was never trying to say Hayden Christensen was not Bob Dylan,” says Hickenlooper. “It was the lawyers who were telling me to shut up … Bob Dylan is not going to sue us.”

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