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Photo by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Photo by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

10 Fascinating Facts About Call Me By Your Name

Photo by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Photo by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

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.

Actors Armie Hammer (L) and Timothee Chalamet attend a screening of 'Call Me by Your Name' during the 55th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on October 3, 2017 in New York City.
Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images

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.

Left to right: Timothée Chalamet, Director Luca Guadagnino and Armie Hammer
Photo by Peter Spears, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

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.

Left to right: Amira Casar as Annella, Michael Stulhbarg as Mr. Perlman, Armie Hammer as Oli-ver and Timothée Chalamet as Elio in 'Call Me By Your Name'
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Sony Pictures Classics

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.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Little Women
gutenberg.org
gutenberg.org

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is one of the world's most beloved novels, and now—nearly 150 years after its original publication—it's capturing yet another generation of readers, thanks in part to Masterpiece's new small-screen adaptation. Whether it's been days or years since you've last read it, here are 10 things you might not know about Alcott's classic tale of family and friendship.

1. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT DIDN'T WANT TO WRITE LITTLE WOMEN.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Louisa May Alcott was writing both literature and pulp fiction (sample title: Pauline's Passion and Punishment) when Thomas Niles, the editor at Roberts Brothers Publishing, approached her about writing a book for girls. Alcott said she would try, but she wasn’t all that interested, later calling such books “moral pap for the young.”

When it became clear Alcott was stalling, Niles offered a publishing contract to her father, Bronson Alcott. Although Bronson was a well-known thinker who was friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, his work never achieved much acclaim. When it became clear that Bronson would have an opportunity to publish a new book if Louisa started her girls' story, she caved in to the pressure.

2. LITTLE WOMEN TOOK JUST 10 WEEKS TO WRITE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott began writing the book in May 1868. She worked on it day and night, becoming so consumed with it that she sometimes forgot to eat or sleep. On July 15, she sent all 402 pages to her editor. In September, a mere four months after starting the book, Little Women was published. It became an instant best seller and turned Alcott into a rich and famous woman.

3. THE BOOK AS WE KNOW IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN TWO PARTS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

The first half was published in 1868 as Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The Story Of Their Lives. A Girl’s Book. It ended with John Brooke proposing marriage to Meg. In 1869, Alcott published Good Wives, the second half of the book. It, too, only took a few months to write.

4. MEG, BETH, AND AMY WERE BASED ON ALCOTT'S SISTERS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Meg was based on Louisa’s sister Anna, who fell in love with her husband John Bridge Pratt while performing opposite him in a play. The description of Meg’s wedding in the novel is supposedly based on Anna’s actual wedding.

Beth was based on Lizzie, who died from scarlet fever at age 23. Like Beth, Lizzie caught the illness from a poor family her mother was helping.

Amy was based on May (Amy is an anagram of May), an artist who lived in Europe. In fact, May—who died in childbirth at age 39—was the first woman to exhibit paintings in the Paris Salon.

Jo, of course, is based on Alcott herself.

5. LIKE THE MARCH FAMILY, THE ALCOTTS KNEW POVERTY.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Bronson Alcott’s philosophical ideals made it difficult for him to find employment—for example, as a socialist, he wouldn't work for wages—so the family survived on handouts from friends and neighbors. At times during Louisa’s childhood, there was nothing to eat but bread, water, and the occasional apple.

When she got older, Alcott worked as a paid companion and governess, like Jo does in the novel, and sold “sensation” stories to help pay the bills. She also took on menial jobs, working as a seamstress, a laundress, and a servant. Even as a child, Alcott wanted to help her family escape poverty, something Little Women made possible.

6. ALCOTT REFUSED TO HAVE JO MARRY LAURIE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott, who never married herself, wanted Jo to remain unmarried, too. But while she was working on the second half of Little Women, fans were clamoring for Jo to marry the boy next door, Laurie. “Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only aim and end of a woman’s life," Alcott wrote in her journal. "I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone.”

As a compromise—or to spite her fans—Alcott married Jo to the decidedly unromantic Professor Bhaer. Laurie ends up with Amy.

7. THERE ARE LOTS OF THEORIES ABOUT WHO LAURIE WAS BASED ON.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

People have theorized Laurie was inspired by everyone from Thoreau to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son Julian, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. In 1865, while in Europe, Alcott met a Polish musician named Ladislas Wisniewski, whom Alcott nicknamed Laddie. The flirtation between Laddie and Alcott culminated in them spending two weeks together in Paris, alone. According to biographer Harriet Reisen, Alcott later modeled Laurie after Laddie.

How far did the Alcott/Laddie affair go? It’s hard to say, as Alcott later crossed out the section of her diary referring to the romance. In the margin, she wrote, “couldn’t be.”

8. YOU CAN STILL VISIT ORCHARD HOUSE, WHERE ALCOTT WROTE LITTLE WOMEN.

Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts was the Alcott family home. In 1868, Louisa reluctantly left her Boston apartment to write Little Women there. Today, you can tour this house and see May’s drawings on the walls, as well as the small writing desk that Bronson built for Louisa to use.

9. LITTLE WOMEN HAS BEEN ADAPTED A NUMBER OF TIMES.

In addition to a 1958 TV series, multiple Broadway plays, a musical, a ballet, and an opera, Little Women has been made into more than a half-dozen movies. The most famous are the 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn, the 1949 version starring June Allyson (with Elizabeth Taylor as Amy), and the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. Later this year, Clare Niederpruem's modern retelling of the story is scheduled to arrive in movie theaters. It's also been adapted for the small screen a number of times, most recently for PBS's Masterpiece, by Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas.

10. IN 1980, A JAPANESE ANIME VERSION OF LITTLE WOMEN WAS RELEASED.

In 1987, Japan made an anime version of Little Women that ran for 48 half-hour episodes. Watch the first two episodes above.

Additional Resources:
Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography; Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women; Louisa May Alcott's Journals; Little Women; Alcott Film; C-Span; LouisaMayAlcott.org.

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Tribeca Film Festival/Screenvision Media/Universal Pictures
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Scarface is Returning to Theaters for Its 35th Anniversary
Tribeca Film Festival/Screenvision Media/Universal Pictures
Tribeca Film Festival/Screenvision Media/Universal Pictures

Pop culture history was forever altered on December 9, 1983, when Scarface arrived in movie theaters across America. A loose remake of Howard Hawks's classic 1932 gangster film, Brian De Palma's F-bomb-laden story of a Cuban immigrant who becomes the king of Miami's drug scene by murdering anyone in his path is still being endlessly dissected, and quoted, today. To celebrate the film's place in cinema history, the Tribeca Film Festival is teaming up with Screenvision Media and Universal Pictures to bring the film back into theaters next month.

Just last month, Scarface screened at New York City's Tribeca Film Festival as part of a 35th anniversary celebration. The film's main cast and crew—including De Palma and stars Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Steven Bauer—were on hand to discuss the making of the film and why it has endured as a contemporary classic. (Yes, that's the same conversation that left the panel momentarily speechless when moderator Jesse Kornbluth asked Pfeiffer how much she weighed during filming.) That post-screening Q&A will be part of the upcoming screenings.

"Scarface is a timeless film that has influenced pop culture in so many ways over the last 35 years. We're thrilled to partner with Universal Pictures and Tribeca Film Festival to bring it back to the big screen in celebration of its anniversary," Darryl Schaffer, executive vice president of operations and exhibitor relations at Screenvision Media, said in a press statement. "The Tribeca Film Festival talk was an important commemoration of the film. We're excited to extend it to the big screen and provide fans a behind-the-scenes insight into what production was like in the 1980s."

Scarface will screen at select theaters nationwide on June 10, June 11, and June 13, 2018. Visit Scarface35.com to find out if Tony Montana and his little friend will be coming back to a cinema near you.

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