As if we didn’t have enough reason to look forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, news from “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino has delivered us a much-needed ray of hope for the future.
In an interview with Italian newspaper LaRepubblica, the acclaimed filmmaker seems to have confirmed that the planned sequel to the Oscar-winning 2017 coming-of-age movie will reunite stars Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, along with others from the cast of the original film.
An adaptation of André Aciman’s novel of the same name, “Call Me By Your Name” instantly became an essential “must-see” pillar of the LGBTQ cinematic canon with its bittersweet, nostalgic tale of a romance between a teen boy named Elio and his father’s research assistant, Oliver. Set during a pre-AIDS era summer in the Italian countryside, the film garnered much acclaim and multiple awards, catapulting Chalamet to the top of Hollywood’s “A-list” and revitalizing the career of co-star Hammer. In addition, it earned much-deserved recognition for its producer and screenwriter, veteran filmmaker James Ivory, from a new generation of film buffs.
In the wake of the film’s success, original author Aciman released “Find Me,” a sequel novel set ten years later and placing more focus on the character of Elio’s father, Sami. The story continues for an additional decade from there. Guadagnino has previously suggested that his film sequel would be set “just a few years” after the original, and would explore the AIDS crisis in Berlin in 1989, veering from the direction taken by Aciman in “Find Me.”
Whether that plot diversion will remain in place is still unclear; in the Italian interview, the director revealed that, though he has someone in mind to pen the screenplay for the new film, a scheduled meeting in the US to discuss the project with that writer – whose identity he is keeping quiet, for the time being – was cancelled, likely over concerns about the coronavirus crisis.
Still, Guadagnino had good news to share.
“It is a pleasure to work again with Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Esther Garrel, and the other actors,” the filmmaker said. “They will all be in the new film.”
Stuhlbarg earned an Oscar nod in “Call Me By Your Name” for his supporting role as Sami; Garrel portrayed Marzia, the teen girl with whom Elio also has a romance.
The two lead actors have been included in discussion of the follow-up film since it was first announced shortly after the original’s success. Initially, both were gung-ho about their potential involvement, with Chalamet saying in 2018 that they were both “1000 per cent in.” However, in a 2019 interview with Vulture, Hammer expressed reservations.
“It felt like a really perfect storm of so many things, that if we do make a second one, I think we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment,” the actor said. Nevertheless, he went on to add, “If we end up with an incredible script, and Timmy’s in, and Luca’s in, I’d be an asshole to say no.”
Guadagnino’s announcement would seem to indicate that the actor has been sufficiently persuaded, and though there has been no official confirmation yet from any of the actors mentioned by name, those of us who fell in love with Elio and Oliver – and the two Hollywood heartthrobs who played them – can now hold on to the hope that we will all get a chance to follow their further journey in a brighter, post-pandemic world to come.