TORONTO — Armie Hammer says he originally wanted to pass on the coming-of-age drama “Call Me By Your Name” because he was uncomfortable with appearing nude on screen.
Hammer told a Toronto International Film Festival press conference that he had major reservations about the “high level of intimacy” the role required and it scared him.
The critically acclaimed film tells the story of an Italian-American teenager’s summer stay at his family’s villa in Italy, where his father is mentoring an American — played by Hammer.
As the story progresses, the teen forges a strong friendship with the visitor built on their shared Jewish heritage, and their relationship eventually develops complex sexual tension.
Hammer, who played the Winklevoss twins in “The Social Network” and was at TIFF last year for “Nocturnal Animals,” says the film’s story is “incredibly prescient and important” and may push some filmgoers to “challenge their sensibilities.”
But it took conversations with director Luca Guadagnino before Hammer was convinced to accept the role of the elder student.
“I did want to pass, it scared me, I thought that this was going to require so much and push me so far, it just made me nervous,” Hammer admitted.
“There was just like such a high level of intimacy that I’d never really done on camera before. I also have two little kids, and I just, you know, I was a little bit nervous about all the nudity that was originally in the script and I just had images of my daughter being at school when she’s like 13-years-old and like people teasing her and like printing up pictures of my penis from the internet.”
Hammer says he’s ultimately glad he accepted the role in the film, which received a rapturous response when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
“Call Me By Your Name” is due to hit Canadian theatres in December.