For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Armie Hammer to write a tribute to Timothee Chalamet, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why Chalamet, the Oscar-nominated star of “Call Me by Your Name,” represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.
Every once in a while there is a zeitgeistian lightning strike. There may not be a clearer example in recent history than the introduction to the world of Timothée Chalamet. Don’t believe
me? Try this fun social experiment: Next time you are in a crowd of people (millennials to baby boomers, it doesn’t matter), point in any direction and yell, “Oh, my God — it’s Timothée Chalamet!” This can also be used as an unethical life hack if you want to reduce the amount of people in front of you in a long line.
To be clear, this isn’t about luck, for after all, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. And preparation is one thing Timmy has in spades. A graduate of LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and the child of an accomplished mother who was a dancer and actor herself, Timmy was born to do exactly what he is doing. He has been giving quality performances his entire life; we as the spectators were just slow on the uptake to appreciate him. I guess we weren’t really that slow considering he is one of the youngest nominees for an Academy Award ever.
I was given the gift of witnessing his meteoric rise firsthand — much of it happening over the short span of our press tour for “Call Me by Your Name.” It felt like his metamorphosis from a young, quirky and beautiful boy (pardon the pun) to a savvy, self-possessed and in-demand leading man happened before all of our eyes. But I still don’t know if it was Timmy who was reborn or if it was a matter of us coming to realize exactly who he is and what he is capable of.
His trajectory will not be parabolic; he has way too much in the tank. He has a sometimes turbulent sea of emotions inside of him, each one of those emotions somehow chaotic and also completely at his disposal — ready to be unleashed on any scene he is in. His work will continue to grow, and those of us who have had the pleasure and fortune to work with him in his early career will run into each other at future award shows (no doubt riding his coattails) and give each other a knowing nod, a nod that says both “We saw this coming” and “So you know what it’s like working with Timmy …”
Armie Hammer starred in Broadway’s “Straight White Men,” and he plays Martin D. Ginsburg in the upcoming film “On the Basis of Sex.”