James Ivory has offered an account of his resignation as co-director on the 2017 drama “Call Me by Your Name,” which explains his creative differences with director Luca Guadagnino.
In an excerpt from Ivory’s new memoir, “Solid Ivory”, published by GQ, the experienced film director and author goes into detail about being dropped from the project after adapting the script from André Aciman’s book of the same name. Ivory went on to win an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Call Me by Your Name”. Ivory digs into his relationship with Guadagnino, his original vision for the romance cast and some frustrations he has with the final film.
“When I handed over my script to them, it was accepted without any changes or requests for rewrites, and soon money was found to make the film and pay me,” Ivory wrote. “The last time I saw Luca was before [shooting] began in New York when I still thought I was directing with him; we joked about what could happen if we got into an argument on the set, and laughed at it. And then I was dropped. I was never told why I had been dropped, either by Luca or anyone else. “
Ivory continues to be invited to the first day of filming in Crema, Italy and learns that the film’s production company would not pay for his lodging during filming. Ivory also explains that he had originally cast Greta Scacchi and Shia LaBeouf in the film, in which Scacchi played the mother of Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and LaBeouf as his love interest, Oliver. Ivory explained that Guadagnino was upset that Ivory made the decision, dropping them both abruptly without calling their agents. Both actors were eventually replaced by Amira Casar and Armie Hammer.
“I kept begging: Luca, call Greta! At least call her agent! He did not want that, ”Ivory explained. The instructor claimed that Guadagnino did the same with LaBeouf: “I sent an email to Shia to offer reassurance, but then Luca cast Armie Hammer and never spoke to or about Shia again.”
Last December, a lawsuit was filed against LaBeouf by his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs. The musician has accused LaBeouf of physical violence during their relationship. Hammer was charged with rape and physical assault in March.
Ivory also responded to criticism that “Call Me by Your Name” did not contain enough nudity, explaining that Chalamet and Hammer’s contracts explicitly stated that they would not make scenes with frontal nudity. Ivory explained that he found a way to describe the couple’s love scenes in his script, which would have left the audience satisfied without frontal nudity.
“Luca Guadagnino’s seemingly decorative panning away through a window from the two boys in bed to some uninteresting trees need not have completed the sequence of lovemaking as bland as it did,” Ivory wrote. “If I had directed the film with Luca, I’m sure we could have found a better solution than the one the moment all members of the audience had been waiting for.”
Farrar, Straus and Giroux are releasing “Solid Ivory” on November 2nd.