“Call Me by Your Name” arrived at the New York Film Festival on Tuesday, October 3, in its latest stop on the film festival circuit that also included Sundance, Berlin, and Toronto. Along the way it has been met with critical raves — it already has a remarkable MetaCritic score of 97 more than a month before its official release on November 24 — and much of its success is due to its romantic leads. Timothee Chalamet plays Elio, a 17-year-old boy living in Italy with his family, and Armie Hammer is Oliver, the 24-year-old young man who spends six weeks in Elio’s home as a visiting student. Director Luca Guadagnino (“I Am Love,” “A Bigger Splash”) was at the fest, where he explained his decision to cast Chalamet and Hammer in those pivotal roles (watch above).
“I really felt immediately that he had the ambition, the intelligence, the sensitivity, the naivete, and the artistry to be Elio,” said Guadagnino about the 21-year-old Chalamet, whom the director had been in contact with while the film was still in development. As for Hammer, Guadagnino “saw him in ‘The Social Network’ — I think that’s where we all got aware of him. Then I followed his movies. He was fantastic in ‘The Lone Ranger,’ an unlucky film that I really appreciated. And the portrait he made of the lover of ‘J. Edgar’ was beautiful.” Of both actors, he said, “I found two men … capable of showing fragility, and I think that’s important.”
Guadagnino had much more to see about his film, which is a possible awards contender this coming season. Follow the links below to see more:
On why he originally didn’t want to direct the film: “I wanted to explore a little bit more of the world. I’d been doing many movies in Italy at the time, but at the same time there was something very strong to me about these characters.”
On incorporating new music by Sufjan Stevens: “I felt Sufjan’s lyricism in both the music and lyrics had some beautiful elusiveness on one hand, and on the other hand poignancy.”
On his three favorite cinema romances of all time: “One is ‘Vertigo’ by Alfred Hitchcock, which is the morbidity of love.”
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