Timothee Chalamet had all of Venice seeing red on Friday night at the world premiere of “Bones and All.” The actor donned a sparkling backless jumpsuit in a blood-red shade — a cheeky wink to the drama’s central protagonists, two cannibals in love.
The film, which reunites Chalamet with his “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino, lives up to its title with gory attacks and scenes that involve limb-chewing and eating. But despite the uncomfortable subject matter, the audience at the Venice premiere for the movie devoured “Bones and All.” The film received a 8.5-minute standing ovation, the longest and most enthusiastic of the festival so far. (It handily beat the previous record holder “Tar,” a drama starring Cate Blanchett as a tortured composer, which had a 6-minute ovation.)
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As the crowds inside the Sala Grande cheered “Luca! Luca!,” the Italian director wiped tears from his eyes. Chalamet and the cast — including Taylor Russell, who plays the film’s anti-heroine Maren — walked down the steps of the theater’s mezzanine to welcome the crowd in the orchestra showering them with so much applause. And Chalamet encouraged the clapping to continue as he held up pieces of paper with Guadagnino and Russell’s names on them, meant to reserve their seats, to cue more applause.
Chalamet plays Lee, a pale young man who embarks on a road trip with a woman he meets who shares an equally troubled past. The odyssey is marked with self-exploration and murder (with a tone that suggests what you’d get if Guadagnino had been tapped to direct one of the “Twilight” films). In one scene set at a carnival, Lee seduces a man, suggesting that he’s bisexual (or maybe pansexual), but he eventually falls in love with Maren.
“Bones and All” is based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis. Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” writer David Kajganich adapted the script. The supporting cast includes Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Jessica Harper, Chloë Sevigny, Francesca Scorsese and David Gordon Green.
Notably, “Bones and All” is Guadagnino’s first movie shot in the United States. It also marks a reunion between the director and Chalamet, who became one of the youngest best actor Oscar nominees in history thanks to his work on their first collaboration “Call Me By Your Name.” Guadagnino has called Chalamet’s role in “Bones and All” a heartbreaker.
“The second I read it, I said, I think only Timothee can play this role,” Guadagnino said in an interview last year. “He’s fantastic, a great performer and to see him soaring the way he is doing now, I feel proud of him. And this character is something very new for him, both endearing and heartbreaking.”
Guadagnino has had a rich history with the Venice Film Festival. His directorial debut “The Protagonists” debuted at the 1999 festival. His films “I Am Love,” “A Bigger Splash” and “Suspiria” also world premiered at Venice.
MGM is releasing “Bones and All” in theaters on Nov. 23.
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