For the latest issue of VMAN magazine, Frank Ocean interviewed actor Timothée Chalamet, from the Oscar-nominated films Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird. Chalamet is redefining the role of the leading man, as he's the youngest Oscar nominee for Best Actor in nearly 80 years. The two stars chatted up via phone and delved on to a few topics, such as their favorite restaurants in L.A. and New York City, their shared love for fashion and Joaquin Phoenix, and many more.
Here's a few takeaways that we learned from the conversation.
FO...on his name, and if people have noticed him, and have been calling him Elio yet.
TC: "My whole life I was Timmy and then as I got older, it seemed like Timmy was youthing me out, so it’s been Timothée since. I tried Timo and Tim, too. The real pronunciation is Timo-tay, but I can’t ask people to call me that; it just seems really pretentious."
"That’s been happening. Though riding the 2 train or taking the M12 bus around the city, that hasn’t changed; I guess people don’t really give a fuck in New York. I actually get more people stopping me for Lady Bird, and going, “Is that the douchebag from Lady Bird?” So that’s awesome. I’ve seen certain actors, or musicians like you, keep a sense of integrity and mystery. That’s ultimately what’s been really awesome about Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird as an introduction [to me]: I was up for bigger, more commercial projects, but I didn’t get them. They just didn’t choose me, and it’s been gratifying, coming from more of a place of artistry and not just pure exposure.
FO...on growing up in New York.
TC: "I went to LaGuardia, a performing arts high school. Without being “that guy that enjoyed high school too much,” a trope I don’t want to fall into, it was a really amazing place to go to school. I got to work creatively— I’m an over-exuberant guy and I can go a mile a minute, so having a place to channel that energy was really great."
FO...on the places he should eat at when in NYC.
TC: "Mud is one of my favorite coffee shops, and Tompkins Square Bagels makes the best bagels in my opinion. East Village is my favorite neighborhood.
TC...on the good L.A. eating spots to visit.
FO: "The place that I go to as soon as I get off the plane usually is Ohana, this little Hawaiian Korean BBQ spot in a Studio City strip mall. It’s been the same staff for the past 10 years. There are [photos of] struggling actors on the wall in frames and they have the best chicken potstickers, grilled fish, and short ribs in L.A."
FO...on his love for fashion.
TC: "I’m such a fan boy. [Being involved] with fashion has been really fun, just as a fan. I don’t want to work with a stylist or anything. I’ve been following designers like Raf, Haider Ackermann, Hedi Slimane—these guys are like rock stars. They’re artists."
FO...on his favorite actor, Joaquin Phoenix
TC: "Dude, that is my favorite actor. There’s five or six artists I’m really trying to follow in the footsteps of creatively. I get the opportunity to be on the phone with one right now [laughs], but on the acting side, Joaquin is number one for me."
FO...on method acting when on set.
TC: "I try to be super careful. The danger is you can end up focusing more on what’s going on off-camera than on-camera. You don’t want to be entertaining for the sake of being entertaining. The work should be the work. If it resonates, it’s going to resonate, and then people are naturally curious about how you got to that destination. It can’t be about how you’re getting to it."
FO...on thoughts about making Transformers.
TC: "As Kanye put it, Guillermo del Toro made Paci c Rim and that’s one of his favorite movies. His latest movie, The Shape of Water, is amazing. Christopher Nolan is tied with Paul Thomas Anderson [as] my favorite director. If one of those auteurs has a $200 million film and wants me to be a part of it, fuck yeah."
FO...on getting into the fashion and music of the film's era, such as the '80s vibe of Call Me By Your Name.
TC: "Absolutely. I’m a total “nostalgist” and Call Me By Your Name’s director, Luca, grew up in that time period. In fact, the book is set in ’88 and he changed it to ’83 because he said that was the year in your life you can hear music from. In the movie, there’s Talking Heads, The Psychedelic Furs, or just the Bach or Beethoven—those are all songs from Luca’s youth, what it was like for him in Italy in the ’80s."
FO...on feeling doing whatever you really believed in, you would’ve been good at it.
TC: "I had this feeling I couldn’t not act and yet to get there I really needed teachers, and one teacher in particular, to make me comfortable with failing. To be bad and get over it—that opened the floodgates. I did a play in New York when I was 15, after this really difficult but ultimately helpful sophomore year in high school; that’s when it kind of took off for me. I’m also really passionate about music. I want to pursue other things creatively, not so much music, but definitely writing and directing. I’m going to be very, very patient about that. The dream as an actor is to be economically self-sustainable and what this year has been is beyond that now. I’m getting a creative license of sorts."
For additional details, be sure to read the full story on VMAN.
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