One Problem Call Me By Your Name's Writer Has With The Movie

Call Me By Your Name

One of the most buzzed-about movies heading into this year's Academy Awards was Call Me By Your Name. Luca Guadagnino's film netted four nominations, with one win for James Ivory's script. After a long career as a filmmaker, Ivory won his first Academy Award for the film for Best Adapted Screenplay. With the win he also became the oldest Oscar winner ever at 89. So you would think that Ivory couldn't be happier with how Call Me By Your Name turned out and all its success, but that is not so. He does have one problem with the film: there's no full-frontal male nudity in it. Ivory spoke candidly about his thoughts on the lack of nudity, saying:

When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue. 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.

James Ivory must be quite unhappy about this point if he is willing to call out the man who directed his Oscar-winning script in such a way. Beyond just the fact that Call Me By Your Name did not include the nudity, Ivory seems to believe that Luca Guadagnino's explanation for why the film didn't include it is unsatisfactory. The way Ivory frames it in speaking with The Guardian, he also makes it seem as though the nudity was something that the writer and director agreed to include in the film in advance, so Ivory may see the lack of it as something of a betrayal.

You can see where James Ivory is coming from because this is his story and he wanted it told in a certain way. He is a gay man and he wrote a gay love story, so it makes sense that he would want that to be fully realized on screen. However the nature of filmmaking is compromise, and unless you are directing your own script with complete creative control, there are certain things that may be lost in translation. Ivory also spoke about how he finds sex scenes where there is no nudity and the lovers have sheets strategically placed to cover them up to be disingenuous and unnatural.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet have clauses in their contracts that ruled out the possibility of nudity despite James Ivory specifying in the screenplay that the characters appear naked. Director Luca Guadagnino is also gay and he chose not to include explicit sex scenes and nudity in the film, instead opting to make the film as accessible and resistant to discrimination as possible. That actually raises an interesting point about what the result would have been if this film had included the nudity.

An actor of Armie Hammer's fame probably wouldn't have been involved if nudity was a requirement, and it is entirely likely that the film would not have enjoyed the success it did. Full-frontal male nudity or more explicit sex scenes may have impacted the rating of the film and could have also made some Academy members less likely to see it or vote for it. It's impossible to say, but nudity may have been the difference between James Ivory and Call Me By Your Name's Oscar win and relative obscurity. Whether that was worth it to him, only he can say.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.