Luca Guadagnino is set to start shooting his first TV series, “We Are Who We Are,” for HBO and Sky, “in a couple of weeks,” the director of “Call Me by Your Name” told Variety. Guadagnino is currently in Cannes with his star-studded short “The Staggering Girl,” which world-premieres Friday in Directors’ Fortnight.
“We Are Who We Are” will focus on “a group of American teenagers on a U.S. military base in Italy,” Guadagnino said, particularly two 14 year olds, a boy and a girl named Fraser Wilson and Caitlin Harper. The two become close amid their posse of teenage friends, who think they’re a couple. But Fraser is experiencing confusing feelings about his identity and develops an innocent romantic connection with an older soldier.
“All the characters are from the U.S.,” Guadagnino said. Casting was done in Los Angeles, London, Africa and Italy.
The eight-episode show will be an HBO and Sky original series and is being produced by Wildside, with international sales handled by Fremantle.
Guadagnino’s short, “Staggering Girl,” fuses the aesthetics of film and haute couture and has a multi-layered plot centering on dresses and their owners. Guadagnino said he and U.S. screenwriter Michael Mitnick “tailored a story that took its cue from [Valentino creative director] Pierpaolo Piccioli’s idea of the stories that these dresses told, both emotionally and narratively.”
Julianne Moore stars as an Italian-American writer named Francesca who returns to her childhood home in Rome to pick up her aging mother, a painter. Marthe Keller, KiKi Layne, Mia Goth and Alba Rohrwacher play peripheral characters, and Kyle MacLachlan appears in multiple roles.
“Kyle is my eternal masculine,” Guadagnino said, adding: “I was in my early teens when I saw him in ‘Dune’ in the role that 40 years later will be played by Timothée Chalamet in the reboot directed by Denis Villeneuve.”
About Moore, Guadagnino said: “Piccioli and I said: ‘Who is Francesca?’ And we both said: ‘Julianne Moore!'” Casting agent Francine Maisler managed to “talk her into making a short with us,” he said.
The 35-minute short was shot in five days, four of which were in a convent on Rome’s Palatine Hill, and one on New York’s Upper East Side.