ROME — Luca Guadagnino, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer were cheered by the press in Italy on Wednesday as “Call Me by Your Name” finally gets ready to hit theaters in the country where it was shot, months after its release in the U.S. and other major markets.
Guadagnino, Chalamet and Hammer were on hand in Rome to promote the film a day after it scooped four Academy Award nominations back in the U.S.
“It’s been a very long journey,” Guadagnino told a packed press conference, “both from the point of view of my personal journey as a director and of the life of this specific film, which started at Sundance last year.” He was answering a question by a radio reporter who noted that “Chiamami col tuo nome,” as the pic is titled in Italian, marks the first film by an Italian director to score Oscar nominations outside the foreign-language category since Roberto Benigni’s “Life Is Beautiful” in 1999.
“The day before the [Oscar] nominations, we had celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Sundance screening,” Guadagnino added. “And from that screening onward it has experienced an extraordinary welcome. My editor Walter Fasano and myself were sure that we had made a good film. But we did not think…it would resonate as much as it did.”
Guadagnino said he had received letters “from women, men, young and old people…who tell me that they consider the experience of seeing this film a transformative one.” As for why, “I think it’s because it’s a film about empathy and compassion and the capability to see yourself through the look of the other,” he said, adding that the tender love story at the film’s heart touches on “types of emotions that are very necessary, especially in today’s atomized, alienating, angry world.”
Guadagnino did not score an Oscar directing nomination, as Benigni did for “Life Is Beautiful.” (Benigni wound up winning the statuette for best actor but not director.) But Guadagnino is one of the producers of “Call Me by Your Name,” which received a nomination for best film. It also picked up nods for best adapted screenplay, best original song and best actor for Chalamet, who plays Elio, a teenager who falls in love with a visiting grad student, Oliver, played by Hammer.
“Chiamami col tuo nome” is scheduled for release on about 140 screens in Italy on Thursday by Warner Bros. Italia, which handles Sony product in Italy.
Chalamet, who at 22 has become the youngest Oscar nominee for best actor in decades, called being cast in the film “a gift of the universe.” He first met Guadagnino to talk about the film when he was 17, roughly three years before shooting finally started.
“It seemed like a project that was too good to come true at a young age,” Chalamet said.
For Hammer, it all started in 2010 when “I went over to [Guadagnino’s] place and we had an absolutely incredible meeting…I left the meeting thinking: I f—ing nailed that meeting!
“And then I didn’t hear back from Luca for six and a half years,” he said. “And then finally I got a script. My agent called and said, ‘Luca sent you a script’ and I said, ‘I’m in.’”