The gay drama Call Me by Your Name is already getting Oscar buzz, but star Armie Hammer admits he initially wanted to pass on the film, which sees him as a 20-something student who has an affair with a professor’s teen son (Timothee Chalamet) on the Italian Riveria.
“I did want to pass. It scared me,” Hammer told reporters Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival. But it wasn’t the controversial storyline that had him spooked.
“I was a little nervous about all the nudity that was originally in the script, The Social Network actor revealed. And I had images of my daughter being at school—he’s 13 years old—and people are teasing her and printing out pictures of my penis and, I thought, ’Oh man!'”
Talking to director Luca Guadagnino, he says, changed his mind. “[It] challenged me, it’s the reason I had to take it.”
But Hammer may also have been assuaged that the nudity and explicit sex in André Aciman’s novel were being excised from James Ivory’s script: Guadagnino told The Hollywood Reporter last month he wasn’t “interested at all” in including sex scenes in the film.
“The tone would’ve been very different from what I was looking for. I wanted the audience to completely rely on the emotional travel of these people and feel first love,” he explained. “I didn’t want the audience to find any difference or discrimination toward these characters. It was important to me to create this powerful universality.”
In other words, seeing two men making love would have turned some viewers off—and possibly made your stars uncomfortable—so you cut the scenes. If only actresses got such perks.
Guadagnino did keep the film’s infamous “peach” scene, though he admitted he was unsure if it would fit in the adaptation.
“[It] struck me so much as un-filmable, but also, I hate to be defined as coy,” he told THR. “I don’t want to be coy, shy or coward. So it was like, let’s take the bull by the horns and shoot it. They went for it “on a day that was endless because we were running late, [after we] shot 13 or 14 hours.”
Call Me by Your Name comes to theaters November 24.