The upcoming film Call Me By Your Name is one of the most buzzed about since it’s premiere at this year’s Sundance. The film, based on the novel by André Aciman, depicts the summer love between a 24-year-old American and a 17-year-old on the Italian Riviera in 1983.
Though the novel’s most famous scene made it into the film — where Timothée Chalamet’s Elio masturbates with a peach, which Oliver (played by Armie Hammer) then tastes — the film doesn’t have any sex scenes.
The Hollywood Reporter asked director Luca Guadagnino about this decision. Guadagnino, who is openly gay himself, explained he decided not to put sex scenes in the film due to concerns over tone:
“I wasn’t interested at all. The tone would’ve been very different from what I was looking for. I wanted the audience to completely rely on the emotional travel of these people and feel first love. I didn’t want the audience to find any difference or discrimination toward these characters. It was important to me to create this powerful universality, because the whole idea of the movie is that the other person makes you beautiful — enlightens you, elevates you.”
The Reporter also asked about his decision not to cast gay actors in the lead roles. Guadagnino replied:
“This film is about the blossoming of love and desire, no matter where it comes from and toward what. So I couldn’t have ever thought of casting with any sort of gender agenda. I think people are so beautiful and complex as creatures that as much as I am fascinated with gender theory — I’ve studied [American gender theorist] Judith Butler for so long — I prefer much more never to investigate or label my performers in any way.
“I only cast the actors and actresses I fall in love with — truly having an emotion for them, an anticipation and enthusiasm when seeing them — and I believe that my emotional confidence in them blends into chemistry. It’s always been like that, and I hope I won’t be wrong in the future.”
Guadagnino’s next project will be a remake of the classic Italian horror film Suspiria. Suspiria is a psychological horror film about a ballerina who goes into a highly acclaimed dance academy with a Satanic secret. The remake will star Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson.