“I probably fell in love with Luca the same way Elio fell in love with [my character] Oliver. I looked at him with amazement,” Hammer revealed in OUT Magazine’s November cover story.
Guadagnino, who directed 2015’s A Bigger Splash, agreed, saying, “I fell in love with Armie when I saw him in The Social Network. And then I had the privilege of meeting him, and I fell in love again. And I’ve never recovered from falling in love with him.”
The mutual admiration and trust between director and actor was important on Call Me By Your Name, which Hammer said forced him outside of his comfort zone. Based on André Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a grad student (Hammer) who falls in love with his professor’s son, played by Timothée Chalamet.
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Guadagnino and Chalamet also found themselves on the same page creatively. For example, in one memorable scene from the novel, Chalamet’s character makes love to a pitted peach. Guadagnino had reservations about including the scene in his script: “I was struggling with the possibility that you can masturbate yourself with such a fruit,” he explained.
“So I grabbed a peach and I tried, and I have to say — it works,” he said, adding, “I went to Timothée, and said, ‘We shoot the scene, because I tried it and it worked.’ And he said, ‘I tried, too, and I already knew it worked.’ ”
The anecdote is just one example of the close relationship both actors forged with their director. “I’ve never been so intimately involved with a director before,” Hammer admitted. “Luca was able to look at me and completely undress me. He knew every single one of my insecurities, every time I needed to be pushed, and when I needed to be protected.”
For Hammer, challenging himself with the part was ultimately a freeing experience. “So much of this movie is about stripping everything away and exposing yourself,” he explained. “I grew up in conservative white America, where you just don’t talk about yourself, your desires, wanting to express your sensuality — it’s taboo. To be fully immersed in Luca’s world was just an incredible gift.”
Call Me By Your Name hits theaters Nov. 24.