Timothée Chalamet on Why ‘It’s Tough to Be Alive Now’ for Generation TikTok

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty

It’s been five years since filmmaker Luca Guadagnino coronated Timothée Chalamet as one of the most promising actors of his generation in Call Me by Your Name, and now the duo have returned to Italy to debut another achingly romantic story of first love.

Premiering at the Venice Film Festival, Bones & All is a tale set in the ’80s American Midwest about two teen cannibals, Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Chalamet), who bond over their shared taste for human flesh and crippling loneliness in a world that will never understand or accept them.

During the film’s press conference, Chalamet discussed why he took on a more intimate, character-driven film in between two installments of the sci-fi epic Dune.

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“That story is about someone who’s on a prophecy—on a path, and can’t get off it,” said Chalamet. “I was dying to work with Luca again to tell a story that was grounded like the first story we told, only this time in the American Midwest in the ‘80s about people that are disenfranchised in every way possible.”

Chalamet lavished praise on Guadagnino for welcoming his input “in a script sense,” including taking his character Lee “from an alpha-jock to a broken soul.” Since the picture explores two lost souls who find themselves constantly alienated by the world’s judgment, the actors saw parallels between their plight and that of Gen Zers in today’s judgment-heavy social-media landscape.

“To be young now, and to be young whenever—I can only speak for my generation—is to be intensely judged,” reasoned Chalamet. “I can’t imagine what it is to grow up with the onslaught of social media, and it was a relief to play characters who are wrestling with an internal dilemma absent the ability to go on Reddit, or Twitter, Instagram or TikTok and figure out where they fit in.”

“Without casting judgment on that, you can find your tribe there, but I think it’s tough to be alive now,” he added. “I think societal collapse is in the air—or it smells like it—and, without being pretentious, that’s why hopefully movies matter, because that’s the role of the artist… to shine a light on what’s going on.”

Russell echoed Chalamet’s sense of worry for our youth: “I have a little brother who’s 19, 20-ish, and thinking about him in this world, and the self-judgement and judgment of others that people seem so flooded with every day in such a drastic and severe way is so scary, because the hope is that you can find your own compass within all of it and that seems like a difficult task now.”

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