The hit of 2017 Call me by your name was almost a drastically different movie according to screenwriter James Ivory, who insists Shia LaBeouf could have played alongside TimothÃ©e Chalamet instead of Armie Hammer.
The movie with the most explicit fishing scene in movie history saw Armie Hammer and Chalamet playing lovers on the Italian Riviera and was all over pop culture for a year or two.
Would he have been as popular with the intense LaBeouf as Chalamet’s older lover? The film’s screenwriter, James Ivory, seems to think so.
According to GQ, the screenwriter discussed the thorny issues that arose during the making of the film, with Ivory often clashing with director Luca Guadagnino. According to Ivory, he was supposed to co-direct alongside Guadagnino until he was unexpectedly “pulled” from production.
âThe last time I saw Luca was before it started, in New York City, when I still thought I was co-directing with him,â Ivory said. “We joked about what might happen if we had an argument on set and we laughed about it.”
He continued, âI didn’t care a lot. I could see that it could be very inconvenient at times to have two directors on set. How would it be for the cast and crew if we had a dispute? Who would then be the real director when one of us had to give in? How many minutes of expensive filming would be wasted while we were arguing? “
Major casting issues also abounded, with Ivory claiming poor LaBeouf suffered the same fate as him. While he initially had doubts about the actor’s ability to play such an intellectual character, he believed he might eventually be successful.
Do you like cinema and television?
Get the latest movie and TV news, features, updates and freebies straight to your inbox Learn more
“He’s a very good actor,” he said. âBut as an academic writing on the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, it would be exaggerated. Well, I thought he would be some kind of diamond scholar, like my friend Bruce Anawalt.
When LaBeouf and Chalamet next read together, Ivory definitely knew he could do it. âShia came to New York to read with TimothÃ©e Chalamet, paying for his own plane ticket, and Luca and I were blown away. The reading of the two young actors had been sensational; they were a very convincing hot couple.
But then, too, Shia was abandoned. He had had bad publicity. He had fought with his girlfriend; he had pushed the police away somewhere when they tried to calm him down. And Luca wouldn’t call him, or his agent. I emailed Shia reassuring him, but Luca then chose Armie Hammer and never spoke to or from Shia again.
You have to appreciate the grim irony of LaBeouf dropping out for “bad publicity” given what happened to Hammer after the success of Call me by your name. After allegations of abuse and cannibalism, the actor has been barred from several high-profile projects, although his legal team has denied the allegations.
For more on this topic, follow the Film & TV Observer.