We’ll have to wait until November 24 to see if Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s trial by missing peach pit works in regards to a much-hyped sex scene in the film. The scene in question, a memorable part of André Aciman’s novel from which the film is adapted, concerns protagonist Elio (Timothée Chalamet) hollowing out the center of a peach in order to masturbate with it. Guadagnino wasn’t sure the scene would make it into the movie.
“I thought it was a scene that can only play in a book, because you could go into your imagination,” Guadagnino said. “I also thought it was a metaphor for sexual impulses and energy. I didn’t believe in the actual physical possibilities of masturbating yourself with a peach. In translating this into a movie, I was both admiring Aciman’s work and dreading Aciman’s work…many times I said, ‘We have to remove this from the script.’ I didn’t want something that could be exploitative, sensationalist, or even involuntarily ridiculous. So it was a process, a long process.”
That process ultimately led to Guadagnino trying out this intriguing masturbatory technique, as he was not convinced it was effective and would therefore seem false played out on the screen.
“One day I tried, physically, to masturbate myself with a peach because I was asking Timothée to do it as a character, and I wanted to prove to myself that it was not doable so we would not have to do it. And actually, when I got the fruit and put my finger in the fruit and started to debone it, already that act gave me a cinephile memory, reminding me of a great moment in this version of Madame Bovary [called Abraham’s Valley] by Manoel de Oliveira, the great Portuguese filmmaker. In it, the Bovary character is young and full of lust, she wants to fuck this guy. She sees a flower, she grabs this flower, and she puts her finger into the flower. It’s an incredible scene about the sensuality in all things. So I thought, ‘Finally, we have a lead here that can make this scene doable.’ Then I tried to put the deboned peach on me and it actually worked, it wasn’t just a metaphor! So I threw the peach away, composed myself, and went to Timothée and told him, ‘Timmy, I tried the peach myself, and it works. We can film the scene.’ And he goes, ‘Of course it works! I tried it myself as well.’
Director, actor, peaches, Call Me by Your Name filmgoers on November 24—everybody is happy!