Screenwriter James Ivory Criticizes ‘Call Me by Your Name’s’ Lack of Frontal Nudity
Ivory, whose screenplay for the movie won an Oscar, said in an interview with the Guardian that his script included Elio, played by Timothee Chalamet, and Oliver, portrayed by Armie Hammer, being shown naked during intimate scenes. Ivory called Guadagnino’s claims that he never considered putting nudity in the film “totally untrue.”
“He sat in this very room where I am sitting now, talking about how he would do it, so when he says that it was a conscious aesthetic decision not to – well, that’s just bull—-,” Ivory said.
The screenwriter had previously told Variety that Chalamet and Hammer had contracts that specified there would not be any frontal nudity, which Ivory called at the time “a pity” and an “American attitude.”
“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phony to me,” Ivory went on. “I never liked doing that. And I don’t do it, as you know.”
He referenced his 1987 film “Maurice,” which involved a gay love scene with nudity. “To me, that’s a more natural way of doing things than to hide them, or to do what Luca did, which is to pan the camera out of the window toward some trees.”
In the interview, Ivory also addressed why he chose to never talk publicly about his romantic relationship with producing partner Ismail Merchant, despite the duo making films together for decades. Merchant died in 2005.
“That is not something that an Indian Muslim would ever say publicly or in print. Ever!” he explained. “You have to remember that Ismail was an Indian citizen living in Bombay, with a deeply conservative Muslim family there. It’s not the sort of thing he was going to broadcast.”
He concluded, “Since we were so close and lived most of our lives together, I wasn’t about to undermine him.”