While the novel Call Me by Your Name takes place at the height of the AIDS epidemic in 1987, for the film adaptation, director Luca Guadagnino shifted Elio and Oliver’s summer romance to 1983, around the time HIV was discovered.
The disease, however, will be tackled head-on in the sequel, says Guadagnino, who hopes the awards contender is the first installment of a decades-long Before Sunrise-like series. “I think it’s going to be a very relevant part of the story,” he told THR at Jan. 13’s Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.
“I think Elio [Timothee Chalamet] will be a cinephile, and I’d like him to be in a movie theater watching Paul Vecchiali’s Once More,” a 1988 film about a man who falls in love with a man after he leaves his wife, which was the first French movie to deal with AIDS. “That,” said Guadagnino, “could be the first scene [in the sequel].”
“The novel has 40 pages at the end that goes through the next 20 years of the lives of Elio and Oliver, so there is some sort of indication through the intention of author Andre Aciman that the story can continue,” Guadagnino added. “In my opinion, Call Me can be the first chapter of the chronicles of the life of these people that we met in this movie, and if the first one is a story of coming of age and becoming a young man, maybe the next chapter will be, what is the position of the young man in the world, what does he want — and what is left a few years later of such an emotional punch that made him who he is?”
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.