Will An Older Elio Make “CMBYN’s” Sequel Less Problematic?

Image via Sony Pictures Classics

Chalamet & Hammer Confirmed!

It looks like the sequel film to Call Me By Your Name is still in the works. And now, the two leads are confirmed to be returning. At least, according to the director.

Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino recently spoke to Italian Magazine La Repubblica. In that interview, Guadagnino shared that the original cast will be returning for the sequel to his 2017 film.

“Before coronavirus, I had a trip to the United States to meet a writer I love very much, whose name I don’t want to say, to talk about the second part,” Guadagnino said. “Unfortunately, we had to cancel it. Of course, it is a great pleasure to work with Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Esther Garrel and the other actors.”

“Everyone will be in the new movie,” the director then added. 

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Problematic Casting

But should this second film be made?

Call Me By Your Name was a 2017 film adaption of André Aciman’s novel with the same name. The story set in 1983 followed a 17-year-old Jewish-Italian boy named Elio Perlman (played by Timothée Chalamet). Suddenly, a grad student of Elio’s father, an archaeology professor named Samuel Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg), joins the Perlman family for a summer work-stay. Soon, Elio finds himself attracted to this 24-year-old gentleman named Oliver (Armie Hammer) and a romance blossoms.

While the film gained mass recognition at the film festival circuit and even won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, the movie also gained ridicule for its lead romance. Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown even went so far as to call the movie about a teen’s sexual awakening “predatory.”

“I’ve worked with many survivors of sexual assault, especially in the LGBTQ community, which often times goes unreported. And so the minute I saw that movie, I thought, ‘Here we are glorifying this sort of relationship,’” he said.

“I know we’re calling him a college student, but it looks like a grown man having sex with a little boy. And for me, I just was not OK with that. And I was like, ‘Why are we pretending like this is OK in any sense? Fashion or form?’”

He then added:

“I haven’t read the book, but I understand that the college student character is like, 19 years old [Oliver is 24 in the book]. And so the relationship between him and this 17-year-old boy — I guess it ‘makes more sense,’ and I’m doing air quotations there,” Brown said. “But there is predatory behavior there that I see, especially in the movie, where Armie Hammer looks dramatically older than this young man.”

“I think to myself, ‘If that was an older man, or a perceived college student who looked that much older with a 16 or 17-year-old girl, we would have all had a hissy fit.’ We would have recognized that this is a problem. But for some reason, because it was two men, we’re just like, ‘Oh, well this is just exploration,'” Brown continued.

Image via Sony Pictures Classics

An Older Elio

But perhaps the second film will be able to move past those warranted concerns. Frankly, the biggest issue is the fact that Armie Hammer did not look age-appropriate for the role. Adding that with Timothée Chalamet’s youthful look, and you have a problem. But the second story in this saga may sidestep this thanks to its time skip.

Yes, we know from the source material that Elio will be older in this second installment. The sequel novel titled Find Me released back in October. Around that time, Aciman himself explained the significance of the story, which followed the characters in 10, 15, and 20-year intervals.

“In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father Samuel, now divorced, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train leads to a relationship that changes Sami’s life definitively. Elio soon moves to Paris where he too has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a professor in northern New England with sons who are nearly grown, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return visit to Europe.”

The novel Find Me sees an older and more mature Elio living his life post-summer fling. With that in mind, we can be sure that Timothée Chalamet’s Elio will be aged up as well. Plus, Hammer will get to play a role that actually fits his age. Though conversely, there is some worry that Chalamet will be able to visually appear as an older Elio. To that, Chalamet responded with an idea of a “Boyhood approach,” aka waiting for the actors to age along with the characters.

In the end, the film’s script is probably not finished yet (and possibly hasn’t even begun). But evidence from the sequel novel does sate some of our concerns. The movie sequel probably won’t be as problematic in its casting/age depictions as the first film. And that’s something to be thankful for.

Sources: La Repubblica, Pride, Paper Magazine

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