Call Me by Your Name: Does Timothee Chalamet Speak Italian and Play Piano?

In Luca Guadagnino’s ‘Call Me by Your Name,’ a summer romance brews between two young men who find themselves exploring a side of themselves they hadn’t before. For 17-year-old Elio, Oliver’s arrival at his house is alluring and intimidating. For Oliver, a 24-year-old American grad student, Elio is a surprise that makes him want to explore the life he could have had had the world been kinder. For one summer, they indulge in a love affair that changes everything they thought they knew about themselves. For actor Timothee Chalamet, who plays Elio, this was the opportunity to hone a couple of other talents.

Timothee Chalamet Learned Italian and Piano for Elio’s Role

In the movie, Elio is presented as a guy who likes to drown himself in books and music. His playing the piano is an important part of his character. The Italian setting and the fact that Elio has grown up in Italy make it sense for him to know the language well. With these things being such an important part of his character, it became paramount for Chalamet to have at least a working knowledge of both things.

The film also incorporates a little French, which is easier for Chalamet because his father is French. The actor revealed that he spent summers in France as a child, so French became his second language. With Italian, however, he didn’t have any experience. To prepare for the role, he left for Italy about a month and a half before filming was scheduled to begin, and he dedicated himself to learning the language. He confessed that it was a challenge at first, and learning the language was tough. Still, by the end, he got enough hang of it to do the job well in the movie.

Around the same time, Chalamet also took piano lessons, but it was a bit easier for him because he had learned to play the instrument growing up. When asked whether he would be able to play in the film, he told Guadagnino that he could. Later, however, he considered that he had not played for more than a decade, so his skills were a bit rusty. So, when he went to Italy to learn Italian, he also met up with Italian composer Robert Solci.

Chalamet revealed that they practiced every day for the month-and-a-half he spent in Italy before filming. Solci helped him polish his skills, especially with the pieces he was supposed to play in the film. The actor also credited his time with Solci with helping him sharpen his piano-playing skills for life. The hard work that the actor put in is also shown in his Academy Award-nominated performance, and it helps to bring out the realism of Elio’s character.

Read More: Call Me by Your Name: Is the 2017 Movie Based on a True Story?