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He started where he usually does; he leaned into his cinephilia.
The films that sprang to mind: Jean Renoir’s A Day in the Country, Bertolucci’s La Luna, Rohmer’s 80s films like The Green Ray and Pauline à la Plage (Call Me is set in 1982).
So I give a great level of importance to the concept of falling in love.” Instead, perhaps, it was resignation that made him take the helm.
Guadagnino had been attached to the adaptation of André Aciman’s delirious summer romance for nearly a decade—first as a consultant, then an executive producer, then a writer—when he finally took the plunge into directing it.
Producers Peter Spears and Howard Rosenman had optioned the book before it was published in 2007, and were working with another director to mount the project.
“Because maybe I knew the people that I was talking about,” he says.” But he is not alone in finding this kind of connection with the story.The book’s fans are diehard, and you don’t have to be gay, or Jewish, or to have summered in Italy, to remember the stomach-churning joys of first desire.Guadagnino’s film had to hit that same balance of the personal and the universal. “For me to believe in something means to be completely invested in it,” he says.“To be absolutely honest in my approach, for better and for worse.” It’s a necessary step for any project, but especially so when the subject is this achingly emotional.
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