In the weeks ahead, the critically acclaimed Call Me by Your Name will expands into more theaters nationwide. The movie stars Timothee Chalamet as Elio, a teenager spending the summer in the Italian countryside with his parents when he falls for Oliver (Armie Hammer), a grad student who has come to stay and assist Elio’s father. I saw the movie at Sundance last year and it held up beautifully when I rewatched it in December. It’s a gorgeous, sumptuous, heartfelt movie, and I can’t wait for more people to see it.
Late last year, I got to do a phone interview with director Luca Guadagnino. During our conversation, we talked about the film’s journey since premiering at Sundance, crafting a positive gay love story, the possibility of sequels to Call Me by Your Name, working with Sufjan Stevens, and more.
Check out the full interview below, and click on the respective links for Adam Chitwood’s review from Sundance, Steve Weintraub’s interview with Timothee Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg, my interview with Armie Hammer, and to find out when Call Me by Your Name is opening at a theater near you.
LUCA GUADAGNINO: Oh my god, it’s been intoxicating. We went to Sundance in Berlin and I will never forget the experience of showing the movie to Sundance in the first place and the way John Cooper introduced the movie. That was really something fantastic for me. And since then, we went … You know, I was busy shooting Suspiria after I went to Berlin. I actually went to Berlin, presented the movie, and stayed in Berlin because I kept prepping Suspiria and then I had the last 10 days of shoot there in March. And then finished the film. And so we left it there. In the meantime I was following the great work of Sony Pictures Classics on this film. And then we went back to show the movie in Australia. We went to Melbourne, we got the Audience award, we go to Toronto, we go to New York. I don’t know, it’s quite exhilarating. It’s something amazing.
You know, you do a movie and you do it with great passion, you do it with great commitment and to do my work, but you never, ever pretend that something you do reaches the kind of commitment from an audience the way this movie seems to have achieved all over the world. It’s very intoxicating experience. It’s humbling and it’s beautiful.
One of the things that I really love about this film is it’s a coming of age story and the gay love story in it isn’t presented as a setup for tragedy as much as it’s just an experience of growth and it’s sort of a gay positive story.
GUADAGNINO: I grew up as a young homosexual boy and I grew up becoming a better person in the meeting I had with people that I wanted and I loved. And that’s my personal experience. And not that I want to underestimate the power, the negative power and the crushing power of homophobia, but I think that a way to react to that is to show how human desire can fulfill the best out of people instead of the worst. And in a way we have the responsibility as the maker to use our tools to make some sort of stories that resonate in a multitude of people as a memento. And sometimes reiterating an idea that may be truthful like oppression for being gay, in a way, empowers that idea. So that’s how I believe Call Me By Your Name came up to be an uplifting film because it’s about being who you want to be and finding yourself into the gaze of the other in his or her otherness.