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“I had to audition a couple times for this, and the last time I went in was with Steve,” the Oscar-nominated actor (Call Me By Your Name) told The Hollywood Reporter. “Obviously I play his son in this film, but immediately I felt like I was in the protection of a paternal figure.”
Carell, also an Oscar nominee, called Chalamet “warm, sincere, earnest and smart,” saying, “you could only hope that would be your son. I have so much respect for him, and really care about him as a person.”
The film shows father David Sheff (Carell) discovering his son Nic’s (Chalamet) drug addiction and how their family copes with the revelation. “The film is based on two memoirs, both David and Nic, the father and son, wrote their point of view,” director Felix Van Groeningen said. “It just laid out in a very simple way how complex this issue is. Too often people still think that being addicted is a moral failure and is a choice and is not a disease. I felt that turning the story into a film had the potential of showing that to a lot of people.”
Carell praised the Sheffs for being “generous” and “forthcoming” with their story, saying, “the fact that they wrote these books and then they allowed, essentially, strangers to interpret those books into a film, is a big leap of faith on their part.”
Office star Amy Ryan, who played Carell’s love interest in later seasons of the hit series, said she and Carell had always wanted to work together again. “I never dreamed it would have been in this story, but this story came along first, and I was so eager to be a part of it,” she said.
“I think it really helped having history with each other and deep friendship and respect,” Ryan, who plays Nic’s mother, said of working with Carell. “The relationship in the film, they’re a bit more fractured, but they find this common bond and love and step aside and would do anything for their son.”
“I remember in our first take together, I just started laughing, which is really wildly inappropriate for our movie,” Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter.
Carell said, deadpan, that he did not have the same reaction, joking, “I was completely professional.”
Beautiful Boy debuts in theaters on Oct. 12. Watch their full interview from the Toronto Film Festival below.
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