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TIFF 17

TIFF 17: Call Me By Your Name star Armie Hammer feared daughter would be teased for dad's nudity

By Bruce Kirkland, Special to Postmedia Network

Afraid of doing nude sex scenes, actor Armie Hammer initially turned down the role of a lifetime in the now highly acclaimed drama, Call Me By Your Name.

Hammer, whose past roles include films as diverse as the twins in The Social Network, the title role in The Lone Ranger, the suave Russian spy in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and voice work in Pixar’s Cars 3, has never been tested in the intimacy arena. Certainly not in a film such as Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, a sensual romance about two young men exploring sexual frontiers together in Italy one sultry summer. It is screening in the Toronto International Film Festival as a special presentation.

“This script came across my agent’s desk,” Hammer told a press conference Friday, “and I got it and said: ‘Whoa! I think I need to have a serious conversation with Luca about this!’ I voiced my concerns. I did want to pass. It scared me. I thought this was going to require so much, and push me so far, it made me nervous.”

Watch the full TIFF press conference here

One reason Hammer was scared was the number of sex scenes and how explicitly they were written in James Ivory’s adaptation of Andre Aciman’s celebrated novel.

“There was just such a high level of intimacy that I’ve really done on camera before,” Hammer said. “I also have two little kids (with wife Elizabeth Chambers) and I was a little bit nervous about all the nudity that was originally in the script. And I just had images of my daughter being in school when she’s 13 years old and people teasing her and printing out pictures of my penis from the Internet.”

Guadagnino toned down the nudity. Hammer accepted the role opposite another American actor, emerging young star Timothee Chalamet (best known for Homeland).

Watch the full TIFF Talks Q&A here

“I was completely won over when I saw the film from a different perspective than my own,” Hammer said of the way Guadagnino won him over. Now he sees Call Me By Your Name as an important film that could help America heal itself in today’s world.

“We’re in trouble down there,” Hammer said of America’s political and cultural crisis. “We need more than a movie! But any little bit helps. And you’re right. This is a crazy, bizarre, weird, scary world.”

Call Me By Your Name infuses “a little bit of beauty” into that messed up world, Hammer said proudly.