Timothée Chalamet on ‘Beautiful Boy’: “I was more terrified to see this movie than anything I’ve ever been in before”

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“I thought one of the traps of this role, especially as a nervous young actor, was going to be to lean into the seriousness of it.” – Timothée Chalamet on ‘Beautiful Boy’

One of the more impressive new faces in acting over the last few years is Timothée Chalamet, who starred in two critical hits in 2017 — Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name. Chalamet was even nominated for an Oscar for his role in the latter film. In his latest film, Beautiful Boy, Chalamet plays a drug-addicted teen. He spoke about his performance in the film with musician Harry Styles for i-D.

Styles asks Chalamet about doing one’s best work when he or she is scared, and Chalamet responds, “If someone tells an artist that they’re brave, they’re really telling them that they’re crazy. I think that whatever bone gets electrified when I act, there’s always a feeling that I’m a little bit out of my depth or out of control.”

With that in mind, Chalamet admits that messing up a scene can often be a helpful part of the process. He says, “I know from working on a movie that if a scene goes wrong, and there’s laughter on set, it loosens you up for the next take, it’s better than protecting yourself and getting lost in your head. The greatest teacher for me has been experience.”

In playing a drug addict, Chalamet experienced a deep connection with his character that he found hard to shake after filming wrapped. He recalls, “My part in Beautiful Boy stayed with me longer than I thought it would. I thought one of the traps of this role, especially as a nervous young actor, was going to be to lean into the seriousness of it. I didn’t want to try and be as hard on myself as possible, thinking that was what it would take to make it good.”

That seriousness — and the fact that he was playing a real-life individual — made Chalamet concerned about his performance. He reveals, “I was more terrified to see this movie than anything I’ve ever been in before because it was based on real people. I really felt pressure, and seeing it for the first time wasn’t the most comfortable experience.”

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