James Ivory isn’t having it with Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s explanation of why there is no full-frontal nudity in the film.
In a Guardian interview published Tuesday, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of the coming-of-age drama reiterated that his original script called for full-frontal nudity for characters Elio (played by Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer). Ivory has talked about wishing the movie had included nudity before, but director Guadagnino has defended the choice by calling it “irrelevant” to the pic and an artistic decision.
In the Guardian, Ivory fired back. “When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” he said. “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.”
Clauses in Chalamet and Hammer’s contracts prevented nudity from making it to the big screen, according to The Guardian.
Continued Ivory: “When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phony to me. I never liked doing that. And I don’t do it, as you know.” He then referenced his 1987 adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Maurice, in which “you certainly see everything there is to be seen.” Said Ivory, “To me, that’s a more natural way of doing things than to hide them, or to do what Luca did, which is to pan the camera out of the window toward some trees.”
Ivory, who has won three best directing Oscar nominations across his career, was originally attached to co-helm Call Me by Your Name, but decided to hand the reins to Guadagnino alone when the prospect of two directors began to complicate financing for the film. As he told The Hollywood Reporter in January, “It wasn’t that kind of a film where there was a lot of spare money. So I just sold them the rights to the screenplay.”
Earlier this month, Ivory won the best adapted screenplay Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards. During his speech, he thanked Guadagnino, whom he called “sensitive and sensible,” and the film’s actors, whom he deemed “wonderful” and “emotion-filled.”