The director behind the gay romantic coming-of-age film, Call Me By Your Name, has rebuffed criticism about his choice to cast straight actors as the movie’s leading gay roles.
Luca Guadagnino, the Italian filmmaker, also known for his work on 2018’s Suspiria, defended his decision to cast Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet as Call Me By Your Name‘s gay sweethearts, Elio and Oliver.
In an interview with The Independent last week, Guadagnino defended his decision and noted that he doesn’t believe in ‘gay identities’ within acting.
“I honestly don’t believe I have the right to decide whether an actor is straight or not,” he said.
“If I have to cast what people think is the real thing for a role, I wouldn’t be able to cast. I cannot cast a gay man to play Oliver. I have to cast Oliver to play Oliver.
“The beauty of acting is the possibility of the creation and embodiment of new selves through the art of acting.”
While the film met widespread acclaim, Guadagnino received criticism for taking away a rare opportunity from openly gay actors.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter of Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory also criticised Guadagnino in 2018 for removing the full-frontal nudity that was included in Ivory’s original script.
A sequel to Call Me by Your Name is currently in production and is based on the 2019 follow-up novel, Find Me which features the same characters and takes place ten years after the first story.
Chalamet, Hammer and Guadagnino have confirmed they will return to film Find Me, despite setbacks in development due to COVID-19.
SBS have also announced the arrival of Guadagnino’s new HBO TV series, We Are Who We Are, which will premiere in Australia soon on SBS Viceland and SBS On Demand. The series follows two American teenagers in 2016 who explore their identities while living on an American military base with their parents in Italy. Watch the trailer to find out more!