In an excerpt from Ivory’s new memoir, “Solid Ivory,” published by GQ, the seasoned film director and writer goes into detail about being dropped from the project after adapting the screenplay from André Aciman’s book of the same name. Ivory went on to win the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for “Call Me by Your Name.” Ivory digs into his relationship with Guadagnino, his original vision for the romance’s casting and some frustrations he has with the final film.
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“When I turned in my script to them, it was accepted without any changes or requests for rewrites, and soon money was found to make the film, and to pay me,” Ivory wrote. “The last time I saw Luca was before [shooting] began, in New York, when I still believed I was codirecting with him; we joked about what might happen if we got into an argument on set, and laughed about it. And then I was dropped. I was never told why I had been dropped, by Luca or anybody else.”
Ivory goes on to detail being invited to the first day of shooting in Crema, Italy and learning that the film’s production company would not pay for his lodging throughout the shoot. Ivory also explains that he had originally cast Greta Scacchi and Shia LaBeouf in the film, with Scacchi playing the mother of Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and LaBeouf as his love interest, Oliver. Ivory explained that Guadagnino was upset about Ivory making the decision, and dropped them both abruptly without calling their agents. Both actors were ultimately replaced by Amira Casar and Armie Hammer.
“I kept begging: Luca, call Greta! Call her agent, at least! He would not,” Ivory explained. The director claimed Guadagnino did the same with LaBeouf: “I emailed Shia to offer reassurance, but then Luca cast Armie Hammer and never spoke to, or of, Shia again.”
Last December, a lawsuit was filed against LaBeouf by his former girlfriend FKA Twigs. The musician has accused LaBeouf of physical abuse during their relationship. Hammer was accused of rape and physical abuse in March.
Ivory also responded to criticisms that “Call Me by Your Name” did not feature enough nudity, explaining that Chalamet and Hammer’s contracts established explicitly that they wouldn’t do scenes with frontal nudity. Ivory explained that he found a way to describe the couple’s love scenes in his script that would have left audiences satisfied without frontal nudity.
“Luca Guadagnino’s seemingly decorous panning away through a window from the two boys in bed to some uninteresting trees needn’t have concluded the sequence of lovemaking as blandly as it did,” Ivory wrote. “If I had directed the film with Luca I’m sure we could have come up with a better solution than that for the moment every member of the audience had been waiting for.”
Farrar, Straus and Giroux will release “Solid Ivory” on Nov. 2.
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