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Call Me By Your Name Was Meant To Have More Sex And Nudity

Entertainment, Featured  

For many people Call Me By Your Name, last year’s sun-soaked, early ’80s-set gay romance, was everything they’d ever wanted in a queer movie. It had two comely leading men (Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet), gorgeous Italian scenery, a mood-enhancing soundtrack courtesy of Sufjan Stevens, a curtain-closing speech by Michael Stuhlbarg that every gay man wishes he’d heard as a tormented teen, and a self-pleasuring scene that will forever alter the way we look at fuzzy fruit. Still, there were some grumblings among some film cognoscenti who felt out director Luca Guadagnino’s film should have been much more explicit — a complaint that gained steam when it was revealed that both lead actors had no frontal nudity waivers in their contracts. If you’ll recall, just when the two protagonists are getting down for the first time,Guadagnino has his camera move away from their encounter, pan across the bedroom, go outside the window to focus on trees in the backyard for what felt like an eternity. Guess what? Veteran screenwriter James Ivory, who recently won an Academy Award for adapting André Aciman’s popular 2007 novel, agrees with the naysayers.

In an interview with The Guardian, 89-year-old Ivory proves he’s no Victorian-era prude by revealing his screenplay called for both Chalamet and Hammer to be shown completely naked. Ivory disputes the director’s earlier defense that the love scenes were never intended to feature more nudity, that it would have seemed like an intrusion.

“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” Ivory tells the paper. “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 bullshit.”

The man knows whereof he speaks. While the Merchant-Ivory films are often spoken about in hushed tones due to their being sterling literary adaptations, featuring casts of prestigious actors and their vaunted,  award-winning screenplays, it’s worth noting that many of them included full frontal male nudity such as 1986’s A Room With a View (take a peek at the famous bathing scene here) and 1987’s Maurice (see the morning-after scene here).

“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phoney to me,” Ivory continued. “I never liked doing that. And I don’t do it, as you know.” The writer brought up Maurice, adding, “the two guys have had sex and they get up and you certainly see everything there is to be seen. 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. Well…”

Well, indeed.

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