It’s not easy to make someone smile through their tears, but that’s exactly the way most people respond to Call Me By Your Name, the lush tornado of young love set in the Italian countryside. Written by James Ivory and directed by Luca Guadagnino, the movie stars Timothée Chalamet as 17-year-old introspective Elio and Armie Hammer as Oliver, the confident graduate student who lives with Elio’s family over the summer.
Elio starts dating local girl Marzia (Esther Garrel), but his relationship with Oliver soon turns seductive and blossoms into a fiercely intense first love.
Grab your peaches. Here are 10 fascinating facts about Call Me By Your Name, which is up for four Oscars this year, including Best Picture.
1. IT GOT THE LONGEST STANDING OVATION IN NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL HISTORY.
Before it premiered at Sundance to widespread acclaim, Sony Pictures Classics had already purchased the film for $6 million. It had already made the rounds at several festivals, including Berlinale and Toronto, before screening at the New York Film Festival in October, where it garnered 10 full minutes of a sustained, standing ovation. That’s more than any other movie in the festival’s 55-year history.
2. THE STORY EXISTS BECAUSE A VACATION FELL THROUGH.
In 2005, André Aciman wanted to take his wife and children on a vacation to a Mediterranean villa but the plans fell through. Instead of springtime relaxation by the seaside, the author spent three months fictionally exploring the Italian Riviera fictionally by writing Call Me By Your Name. He may have lost a vacation, but the world got this story.
3. THE ONLY REHEARSAL CONSISTED SOLELY OF ARMIE HAMMER AND TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET MAKING OUT.
Hammer called it “a bit of an ice breaker.” Guadagnino wanted a naturalistic feel to the performances, so the director called for only one rehearsal. Hammer and Chalamet joined him in the backyard of the villa where they filmed, where the director arbitrarily chose a scene to practice. That scene consisted only of Elio and Oliver rolling in the grass making out, so Hammer and Chalamet got right down to it. After a long kissing session, they looked up to find that the director had already walked off, leaving them alone.
4. ARMIE HAMMER NARRATED THE AUDIOBOOK.
Hammer lends his vocal talents to the 2017 edition of the audiobook, which means he’s also played Elio on top of playing Oliver.
5. AUTHOR ANDRÉ ACIMAN MAKES A CAMEO IN THE MOVIE.
After other actors weren’t available, the production opted to have the book’s author, André Aciman, play Mounir, a dinner guest and husband to a character named Isaac, played by producer Peter Spears. “He had been so hands off with the movie, but we wanted him to be a part of it," Spears told The Hollywood Reporter. "He rose to the occasion, and it was pretty great.”
6. THE FINAL SCENE TAKES PLACE ON DECEMBER 6, 1983.
The airy film plays out over the kind of summer where watches get thrown into the pool and left to sink. Its ephemeral texture is aided by a lack of concern for specific times and dates, but then the winter comes. We won’t spoil the last scene, but if you’ve seen it, you know it takes place on the seventh day of Hanukah in 1983, which makes it December 6th, or 1 Tevet 5744.
7. THE FILMMAKERS CHANGED THE YEAR THE FILM TAKES PLACE IN BECAUSE OF AIDS AND '80S MUSIC.
The novel takes place in 1987, but Guadagnino changed it to 1983 for the film partially because the world was already far deeper into the AIDS crisis by 1987 than by 1983. As Chalamet described it, the time change made it so the film “wasn’t as intense and could be a little more utopic.” Guadagnino was also 12 in 1983 and wanted to use the music from his childhood.
8. THE FILM IS DEDICATED TO BILL PAXTON.
The legendary actor, who passed away on February 25, 2017, wasn’t involved in producing Call Me By Your Name in any way, so the dedication initially seemed puzzling to many. As producer Peter Spears explained, “My husband, Brian Swardstrom, was Bill’s best friend and agent for almost his entire career. Brian is also the agent of Timothée Chalamet (as well as Tilda Swinton, which is how we all met Luca years ago). Brian and Bill came to visit us on the set while we were shooting in Crema, Italy … Bill and Luca became friends, as they had been great admirers of each other’s work for many years, and Luca chose to honor his memory by dedicating the movie to him. A very moving gesture for which Brian and I will be forever grateful.”
9. IT SHARES ITS STARS WITH OTHER OSCAR BEST PICTURE NOMINEES.
Not only does Best Actor nominee Chalamet star in Call Me By Your Name, he co-stars in fellow Best Picture nominee Lady Bird as the jerky love interest, Kyle. Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays Elio’s professorial father, is in three Best Picture Nominees this year: Call Me By Your Name, The Shape of Water, and The Post—becoming only the sixth actor in history to pull that particular hat trick (while somehow not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor).
10. THERE’S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL THAT WILL DEAL WITH AIDS.
The original book also contains an epilogue that outlines Elio and Oliver’s relationship (or lack of one) over a 20-year span. Guadagnino would love to reunite with the cast to make a sequel, set a few years later, and would plan to recognize the AIDS epidemic’s toll in a way Call Me By Your Name sidestepped.