“Killers of the Flower Moon” Star Lily Gladstone Wants to Make a Karen Dalton Biopic

This is excellent news, as Karen Dalton's music is sublime

Lily Gladstone
Lily Gladstone at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

There’s a fascinating piece of information that appears very late in Alison Willmore’s profile of Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone, published at Vulture earlier this week. Much of the article delves into Gladstone’s work in director Martin Scorsese’s much-anticipated adaptation of David Grann’s excellent book of the same name and Gladstone’s previous screen work, including a critically acclaimed role in Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women.

Late in the article, Willmore mentions a few projects that Gladstone would like to make in the future, and one stood out in particular: “one about folk musician Karen Dalton, Cherokee on her father’s side, who was a favorite of Bob Dylan’s but didn’t make it big in her lifetime.”

This is excellent news because Karen Dalton’s music is utterly sublime. Here, listen to “Something on Your Mind” and tell me you’re not convinced.

Dalton was a contemporary of Dylan’s in the Greenwich Village folk scene; she also possesses one of the most expressive voices I’ve ever heard. In his review of the 2006 reissue of Dalton’s In My Own Time, Stephen M. Deusner called Dalton “a demanding, intuitive, eccentric singer and arranger who never sang her own words but clearly and confidently expressed herself with others’.”

In his New York Times review of the 2020 documentary Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, Glenn Kenny wrote, “[a]s a player and singer, [Dalton] was an elemental force.” An article on Dalton by Lindsay Zoladz explored the paradoxes in Dalton’s life and career, and argued convincingly that her approach to music might have been better suited to the present day.

It’s not hard to see why the life of a prodigiously talented artist with a complex life would be appealing to Gladstone. And given that the 1960s folk scene has proven to be a memorable cinematic setting, the ideal of a Dalton biopic is a welcome one indeed.

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