Since it bowed to a rapturous reception at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Luca Guadagnino’s terrific gay romance Call Me By Your Name has been the indie hit of the year, stopping off at Berlin in February on its way to TIFF. Nearly nine months is a long time in the movie world, especially as the awards corridor starts to open up, but Guadagnino and his core cast – Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer – showed no signs of fatigue, even with many more festival stops to go between now and the film’s U.S. release in November. Indeed, the unflappable Guadagnino even has another film nearing completion – his all-female remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic Suspiria, which Hammer proclaimed “fantastic”.
Guadagnino was surprisingly modest about Call Me By Your Name, a sultry adaptation of André Aciman’s novel, which he claims fell to him almost by accident after what was originally an advisory role on the project gradually evolved into a directing job. Once in the saddle, Guadagnino revealed that his casting choices were informed by a conversation with Quentin Tarantino in 2010, when both were serving on the jury of the Venice film festival – the Hateful Eight director counselled that a director should not start work on any film unless he is “totally in love” with all of his actors.
For his part, Hammer – who plays a bisexual American exchange student who awakens desire in a teenage Italian boy (Chalamet) – admitted that the role initially terrified him, before Guadagnino pointed out that “fear and desire” were often flipsides of the same. Chalamet, a fan of his co-star since seeing him as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, had other challenges, not least having to take a crash course in music in order to play convincingly a talented pianist and composer.
To find out more, see the video interview above.
Deadline Studio at TIFF 2017 is presented by Calii Love, Watford Group, Philosophy Canada, and Equinox. Special thanks to Dan Gunam at Calii Love for location and production assistance; and Ontario Camera for equipment assistance. Video producer: Meaghan Gable; lighting and camera: Neil Hansen; design: Dialla Kawar; sound recording: Ida Joking.