In a new interview, Luca Guadagnino, director of the Oscar-nominated Call Me By Your Name, defended casting straight actors Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer in gay roles, and his decision to forgo full-frontal nudity.
Guadagnino responded to the latter when reminded of criticism from screenwriter James Ivory, saying Ivory was “tone deaf” about how to tell the story.
Said Guadagnino: “Nobody who knows my work can say to me with a straight face that I’m shy about male or female or other gendered nudity. So, the critique or note that James gave was, in a way, devoid of pragmatism or a relationship with the movie itself. My question to him is does this movie need full frontal male nudity. I don’t think so. It doesn’t.”
“Maybe the script which he wrote – which was a draft which then I reworked with my editor – was compelled to tell this story through the perspective of a very expositionary kind of nudity,” Guadagnino added. “But that would have been his idea of the movie which, unfortunately, we haven’t seen… so I don’t know.”
As for casting straight actors in gay roles, Guadagnino replied, “I honestly don’t believe I have the right to decide whether an actor is straight or not. Who am I to know what somebody is thinking of himself or herself within themselves.”
Guadagnino added that he doesn’t ask actors “to swear on their sexuality, identities, and desires” before casting them.
“If I have to cast what people think is the real thing for a role, I wouldn’t be able to cast,” the director continued. “I cannot cast a gay man to play Oliver. I have to cast Oliver to play Oliver because the identities of gay men are as multiple as the flowers in the realm of earth. So, there is not a gay identity. One person who is gay is completely different to another person who is gay.”
“The beauty of acting is the possibility of the creation and embodiment of new selves through the art of acting.”
Read the full interview HERE.