5 behind-the-scenes secrets from 'call me by your name'
We learned a lot from Timothée Chalamet's two hour long DVD commentary.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Call Me By Your Name is a that movie hinges equally upon what it shows, and what it doesn’t show. This restrained yet intimate dynamic has in turn lent the film some of its enigmatic spirit, which has made reveling in its mythology even more rewarding. In the wake of the 2018 Oscar season, many unseen CMBYN press conferences and panels are now being released, along with a DVD commentary from Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg. With them comes many new revelations about how the Italian romance came to be. We’ve gathered five of our favorites below.
Timothée and Luca first met where?!
At a recent panel, director Luca Guadagnino revealed how he first met his lead actors Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. “Armie and I, we met seven years ago when I was here to promote I Am Love,” the director shared. But perhaps the real bombshell is where Guadagnino first met Timothée after being introduced by his manager. “I remember we had lunch,” recalls Guadagnino, to which Timothée sheepishly divulges “we had lunch at Trump Tower, weirdly enough.” Thankfully, Armie was there to interject on behalf of everyone, swiftly asking, “Who picked the location?!”
Mafalda was cast pretty much on the spot
Mafalda, the Perlman family’s observant housekeeper, ends up being one of the most unexpectedly foundational characters in Call Me By Your Name. Surprisingly, the casting of Vanda Capriolo ultimately came down to fate. “We were looking for the place where Elio and Oliver go through with their bikes on their way to the first kiss, and I was in this field,” says Guadagnino. “And then I see this lady biking... she doesn’t care about this bunch of filmmakers.” He sent his assistant running after her, but Vanda declined to meet the director. She then showed up to an open casting call for locals, and he cast her immediately upon recognizing her. In fact, Guadagnino loved Vanda's performance so much that he cast her as a witch in his remake of the 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria.
An 80s dance choreographer helped the actors find their groove.
The brief dance sequence is one of the most distinctively 80s moments in CMBYN, and also one with some of the most viral internet responses. But that carefree moment — when the Psychedelic Furs’s “Love My Way” starts blaring and Elio and Oliver heat up the dance floor — was more choreographed than it might have seemed. “We had an 80s dance coach come to the villa one day, and she came totally in costume,” says Timothée. “She had the socks up and the fluorescent leotard, and we did the dance. And [Guadagnino] arranged that.” Guadagnino added that the scene was inspired by Jonathan Demme’s 1986 film Something Wild. In a separate interview, Armie Hammer said it was the “worst scene” of his life.
CMBYN author André Aciman has a prominent cameo
The DVD commentary, with Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg, is crammed with intriguing quips regarding how it felt to create the film. Perhaps one of the most plainly obvious, but often understated moments, is the appearance of Call Me By Your Name’s author André Aciman in the minor role of Mounir. “This is Peter Spears, one of the producers of the film,” says Michael Stuhlbarg in the commentary. “He made this film happen, and that’s André Aciman.” “André Aciman is the author of the novel... so, Peter is in pink and André is in blue,” Timothée added.
Timothée was listening to Sufjan Stevens in his ear during that final scene.
The film’s final shot of Elio at the fireplace is synonymous with the devastation of first heartbreak and Sufjan Stevens. It turns out Chalamet was listening to “Visions of Gideon” while the scene was being filmed. “Sufjan’s song was playing in my ear so I could mirror the structure. It was bit of an acting experiment,” he says. “I was grateful I had enough personal experiences to draw from. I don’t wanna do that all the time... With the camera this close and the take being as long as it is — it felt like anything else would ring false. The camera was just in the fireplace. There wasn’t anybody behind it.”