BFI London Film Festival interviews: Armie Hammer, Luca Gaudagnino and Timothee Chalamet

I managed to speak with director Luca Gaudagnino and the two leading stars of his latest movie Call Me By Your Name, Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, during the 61st London Film Festival.

The film – which is based on a book of the same name – follows 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Chalamet) who is spending the days with his family at their villa in Italy.

Here he meets Oliver (Hammer) – a doctoral student who is working as an intern for his father.

During their summer together, the two discover their desires awaken which will change their lives forever.

Here is what the cast and director had to say about the movie.

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Luca Gaudagnino

What was it about Call Me By Your Name which made you want to turn the book into a film?

The movie wanted to be move before I was a director. It’s about the possibility to make this movie. It’s a beautiful story about two people who fall in love with each other.

How was it working with Armie Hammer and the rest of the cast?

It was beautiful. They were soft and caring and loving.

You’re remaking the classic ‘Suspiria’, Tilda Swinton referred to it as not a remake but a cover?

I like what Tilda said referring to Suspiria. It’s not a remake, it’s not a cover, it’s something very personal. It is more like a homage to the kid I was when I was first saw it. It’s a homage to myself.

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Armie Hammer

Originally you want to turn down this role, looking back are you glad you didn’t?

Yes my hindsight is really 20/20. It was definitely the right move. This film is just a love story. It’s about two people who just open themselves up to each other.

Your relationship with Tim was amazing on scene, how was it working with him?

Tim, we hated each other. No we got along really well. That was maybe part of the genius but we really got on and made each other feel really comfortable around each other.

You have starred in a number of LGBT movies, would you say you are the leading man to play these roles?

No one has ever said that. I wouldn’t be offended. Someone has got to do them.

Timothee Chalamet

You’ve starred in a number of Hollywood movies, and this is completely different what was that like for you?

It was fantastic. We were shooting for 2.5 months in Italy. Who would say no to that?

And your onscreen relationship with Armie Hammer was brilliant, how was it working with him?

It was great, I grew up with ‘The Social Network’ and was great working with him and having the opportunity to star alongside him. I wanted to star in the movie when I was 17 and it happened when I was 20. I was salivating at the opportunity to work with Luca as well.

This is a love story, is that why you wanted to be part of it?

The book is similar to ‘Perks of Being A Wallflower’ and blends a lot of emotion and themes but it was more sexually graphic. But it is very formulaic and I am just very thankful to be part of the movie.

You’ve starred in some great films alongside some great directors, what draws you to a project?

I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have done and will do. It is the director who draws me to the project. It could be challenging or unlikable but if it’s a certain director, I will do the film.

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BFI London Film Festival Opening Gala Night: Interviews with cast of Breathe

As well as speaking to director Andy Serkis and star of the new movie Andrew Garfield, I also spoke with screenwriter Bill Nicholson and producer Jonathan Cavendish – the son of Robin Cavendish whose story is told in the new film Breathe.

Bill Nicholson

How long did it take you to write Breathe?

It’s a very hard question to answer because it’s been 10 years since I first wrote it, that doesn’t mean I’ve been working on it for 10 years but I have done all the drafts and we’ve been through lots of different things so if you added it all up it probably would have been a year’s work but over 10 years

How was it working with Andy Serkis?

It was wonderful. Andy is very very very remarkable. We’ve had a few comments in reviews asking What Andy Serkis is doing this kind of old fashioned, small movie when he does sci-fi and  creature stories and fantasy. But if you think about his talent and Andy has created creatures who are like people and have emotions and that’s because he has that talent and actually gets how emotion works and a lot of actors don’t know how to do that. It’s a very emotional film so he is a wonderful director. When you see how these people act, you think to yourself ‘how can it be that good’ and of course they are very good actors already but they have a very good director. He is amazing.

Gala night opening the London Film Festival, how is that for you?

We never believed it would come to this. We thought it was just a little proud story. It didn’t cost a huge amount to make and it isn’t a blockbuster but people keep saying to me, because I’ve worked on many epic films, why go from an epic to this when my answer is this is an epic but it’s an epic of feeling and emotions that’s what makes films work. I believe it belongs here and belongs on the big stage. It is amazingly shot, with a remarkable cinematograph and it really looks a million dollars.

The story is based around the life of Robin Cavendish, and his son Jonathan produced the movie, did he have any input on your script?

Of course, it’s sort of his story. He was with me every step of the way. I was so proud to be part of delivering for him and his mother something that they like and approve of. I was very nervous about doing it because thought I would screw it up because it’s his life. I don’t want to screw up someone’s life. So I said to him don’t pay me and don’t put a contract on it and we will see how it goes and that’s how we did it.

Jonathan Cavendish

This story is about you and your family, how does it feel seeing it on the big screen now?

Now it’s really emotional. When we were making it, it was sort of a technical exercise and being a special one for me. But now I sort of look at it in a dispassionate way and that it is a good story and it is a good film. I am very detached from it now.

If your father was still around today what would he make of the film?

He would laughing hilariously all this fuss. He would genially love the movie, I hope. Maybe he is watching it somewhere.

BFI London Film Festival Opening Gala Night: Interviews with cast of Breathe

I got the opportunity to attend the opening gala night for the 61st BFI London Film Festival and managed to speak to Andrew Garfield and Andy Serkis about their new film Breathe.

Breathe follows the true story about Robin Cavendish who contracted polio and was given only months to live. But with help from his family and inventor Teddy Hall, Cavendish devotes the rest of his life to help fellow patients and the disabled.

The film marks Serkis’ directorial debut and is a fantastic film. Here’s what the cast and crew had to say about it.

Andy Serkis:

How do you feel about your directorial debut opening the London Film Festival this year?

It’s amazing. It really is quite an honour and I feel beyond belief. It’s my directorial debut but also LFF is something I’ve been coming to for years. It’s a place where these great stories and filmmaker show their work here. I have been coming here as an actor but now I’m here as a director. And also to tell such a great story.

The film is quite different from the normal Andy Serkis big Hollywood blockbusters.

The thing is I already started directing the Jungle Book and then this opportunity opened up to work with Andrew and Claire and were able to shoot this movie very quickly and to concentrate purely on performance rather than the other big movies I have been working on. This is all about what’s going on and told in a very intimate way. It was an extraordinary privilege.

And working with Andrew and Claire Foy how was that?

They are an amazing couple, and amazing people individually. Their chemistry on set was fantastic. It’s very rare to see people come together like that. It was amazing to watch.

Andrew Garfield

How was it playing a character paralysed from the neck down?

It was really interesting. I’ve never done anything like it before. It was quite challenging and interesting. But ultimately it was kind of fun.

What do you hope the general public feel about the film?

I hope it inspires people to fight for their own lives, to have as rich lives as possible. Protesting for a full life, that’s exactly the same thing as what Robin did.

What do you admire most about the character you play?

His sense of humour and wit. Ability to laugh in the face of adversary I love that period of preparation and research where you steep yourself in all the information. It’s like being at school.

And working on Andy Serkis’ directorial debut, how was that?

It was wonderful. It didn’t feel like it was his directorial debut at all. It felt like he had been doing it for a long time. He kept the set moving and created a real community.