International actor Timothée Chalamet by Karim Sadli for L’Uomo Vogue November 2019
In the issue including styling from Alice Goddard for L’Uomo Vogue Italia November 2019. Grooming by Damien Boissinot.
The Work Issue Bussy Being Timothée by Karim Sadli
His Big Break
On Homeland’s second season, he is the vice-president’s surly son, who dates the daughter of double agent Nicholas Brody, played by Damian Lewis. Lewis told his agent to give the 17-year-old a call. The agent signed the young actor, and the agent’s husband went on to produce Call Me by Your Name. “I didn’t make Timothée Chalamet,” Lewis says. “Although, of course, when I see him, I tell him I did.”
The actor is wearing Bottega Veneta. He might be just 23, but Timothée Chalamet is already an Oscar-nominated leading man, a social-media phenomenon, and, perhaps most surprisingly, a fashion icon. This awards season, only two years after Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird, he stars again in two anticipated movies: Netflix’s The King, based loosely on Shakespeare’s “Henriad” cycle of plays, and Greta Gerwig’s star-studded adaptation of Little Women. Here, the accumulated wisdom from countless interviews of (and about) the internet’s latest boyfriend.
Where He Grew Up
New York City, on 43rd Street in Hell’s Kitchen. His mom was a dancer, his dad edited French publications at UNICEF, and his sister is an actress. (“I like to think that the need to act and be seen came from my mom’s side, but the ability to listen came from my dad’s side.”) Growing up, he liked Power Rangers and soccer and spent summers in France that, he says, led to “a little bit of ambiguity in the self-identity sense, which helps a lot creatively because I don’t feel as constricted by who I am.”
His School Years
- Chalamet knew he was really passionate about acting after seeing Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight at age 12: “I just had no clue what was going on in his head, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.”
- In 2013, he graduated from La Guardia High, the arts-school inspiration for Fame, where he dated Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes Leon.
- He acted in high-school theater productions but often lost the lead part to Ansel Elgort, who was one year above him.
- After he filmed Interstellar in 2013, Chalamet spent a year at Columbia and then transferred to NYU for a couple of semesters. “It felt like a clear decision to not [finish]; it was scary because I didn’t want to rob myself of growing as a human. But it’s been the exact opposite: going from set to set; working with creative, open people; having mentors rooting for you. There’s education within that, I guess.”
Call Him By …
“My whole life, I was Timmy, and then as I got older, it seemed like Timmy was youthing me out, so it’s been Timothée since.” His mother would email producers, asking them to correct the spelling: e, with an accent. “The real pronunciation is Timo-tay, but I can’t ask people to call me that; it just seems really pretentious.” On the set of Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig and star Saoirse Ronan started calling him “Pony.” “Because he’ll come up to Greta and me and nuzzle us,” said Ronan. “It’s quite disarming. My pretty Pony!”