“At a certain point I was able to come to grips with the idea to just ‘be.'” – Timothée Chalamet
Newcomer Timothée Chalamet has impressed many with his performance in Call Me By Your Name, which has taken him as far as an Oscar nomination (impressively, he also appeared in the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird). It’s an impressive spot for a twenty-two year-old actor to be in, and he took the opportunity to speak about his performance and his approach to acting with V Magazine in an interview conducted by filmmaker Xavier Dolan.
Chalamet explains that he can’t control what an audience gets out of his performance, and that it was something he had to come to terms with. He says, “I always like to think that the art doesn’t take place on screen, but in the audience member’s head. At a certain point I was able to come to grips with the idea to just ‘be.'”
Later, he adds that he can’t always control if he’s good or bad in a role or a project — but what concerns him the most is whether or not he is interesting on screen. He explains, “I’m not worried about being bad in anything, because I know I’ll be bad in things, and that’s fine. But what scares me is being boring, and being part of stories I feel too familiar with, or being cynical for the sake of being cynical.”
Nonetheless, Chalamet rejects the idea that acting is about expressing pain. He uses an example from Call Me By My Name as an example. He says, “Pain, after all, is mostly what Michael [Stuhlbarg]’s monologue is about. During that scene, I had a little voice at the back of my head saying, Hear this. Fucking hear this. When you’re suffering, or grieving, the only thing you can control or protect yourself from is the added layer of shame, beating yourself up over heartbreak, or forbidding yourself the pain. But there is no right way to grieve or suffer. If it ever was about pain— the pain that relates to heartbreak or love—it’s about how to deal with it.”