Timothée Chalamet is fresh off the back of an incredible 2017 in which he starred in two Oscar nominated films. The 21-year-old’s breakout role in ‘Call Me By Your Name’ made him the youngest nominee for the Best Actor category since 1939 and third youngest ever to be nominated.
Now, his professional acting career began with studying at LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts. Acclaimed for its notable alumni such as Jennifer Aniston, Adrien Brody and Ansel Elgort. As a child he appeared in commercials, and two short horror films before making his professional debut in Law & Order. He became a regular in Homeland and his film debut came with Men, Woman and Children (Jason Reitman, USA, 2014). In October of the same year he starred in critically acclaimed film Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, USA/UK, 2014) at just 17 years-old. Chalamet was gaining experience, but ‘Call me by your Name’ was that breakthrough performance. It became immediately apparent that this actor was going to be a star for years to come, which can be a rarity in movies. Think of Emma Stone in “Easy A”. That kind of thunderbolt movement is striking now for Timothée Chalamet.
“He has a capacity for understanding human nature instinctively that’s astonishing” – Guadagnino
Chalamet’s performance in Oscar winning ‘Call me by your Name’ struck a chord with people inside and outside the industry as he reflects beautifully Elio’s self-discovery that mingles love with language, art and natural beauty. In the film he illustrates his ability to speak French and Italian fluently while also playing both the piano and guitar showcasing his diverse talents. Chalamet’s uncommon poise and wide-ranging intelligence in this deeply sensual movie creates a sense of realism that conveys the films power perfectly to its audience. Chalamet’s confidence is what lends him perfectly to the industry. He had to ready himself to be vulnerable in the film’s sensual scenes. The complexity and intensity of Elio and Oliver’s relationship meant that Chalamet had to be comfortable with his vulnerability as a young adult in the film, especially with the infamous peach scene. The ability to act as a teenager in a pre-smartphone time and still project the familiar sense of discovery and sexual desire that strikes chords with teenagers today illustrates a mastery of the art.
“I didn’t feel self-conscious… it just felt like the reality of what a young man experimenting with his sexuality would be” – Chalamet
Chalamet used his experience as a young man, who too is experimenting with who he is, to channel Elio. In an interview he discusses how “When you’re young, you’re almost shopping for a personality — and Elio is identifying himself by the person he’s with. It’s about becoming your lover by way of full abandonment and just totally revealing [yourself].” Chalamet exquisitely demonstrated the magnetic and mesmerising connection between Elio and Oliver making the relationship captivating to an audience. To channel Elio, Chalamet arrived six weeks before filming began in Northern Italy, where the actor, who is fluent in French, spent afternoons learning Italian, taking guitar and piano lessons, and bicycling around. This allowed Chalamet to become so familiar with the surroundings that he was able to effectively embody his role as host in real life to the actors arriving later. It is this dedication to mastering a role that will aid his development and makes him a rising star not just in my eyes but actors and directors alike.
There are big things to come for the rising star as his new Oscar nominated film LadyBird is out in cinemas. He also has roles in Felix Van Groeningen’s 2018 film ‘Beautiful Boy’ in which he plays a methamphetamine addicted son and in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy ‘A Rainy Day in New York’. His youth and dedication makes him one to watch. It is this early diversity of his roles that demonstrates Chalamet as keen, confident and eager to learn which is exactly the refreshing quality Hollywood needs right now.