They say that if something scares or challenges you, it means that thing is worth doing. Well, Armie Hammer took that approach to heart when offered a role in Luca Guadagnino’s acclaimed gay love story Call Me By Your Name—the actor revealed today in a TIFF press conference that he very nearly passed on the film before ultimately deciding to take on the challenge.
“I did want to pass. I did want to pass. It scared me,” Hammer told reporters (per THR). The actor stars in the film as Oliver, a 24-year-old American doctoral student who has a summer romance with 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) in 1980s Italy.
“I was a little nervous about all the nudity that was originally in the script,” Hammer explained. “And I had images of my daughter being at school, and she’s 13 years old, and people are teasing her and printing out pictures of my penis and, I thought, ‘Oh man!’” But Hammer took the role after speaking to Guadagnino: “Because this challenged me, it’s the reason I had to take it.”
Call Me By Your Name, adapted by James Ivory from André Aciman’s acclaimed novel of the same name, has already inspired rave reviews, with Hammer and Chalamet’s performances coming in at third and seventh, respectively, on Paste’s list of Sundance 2017’s best acting turns. The film’s first TIFF screening took place Thursday, Sep. 7, ending with a standing ovation.
Between Call Me By Your Name’s overwhelming critical acclaim and its deep cultural resonance as a queer love story in tumultous times, it’s safe to say Hammer made the right decision.
Call Me By Your Name comes to select theaters on Nov. 24. Watch the trailer below, and see where the film landed on our list of Sundance’s best right here.