BY MAX WELLS
While Call Me By Your Name may have been snubbed at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards, the film’s fight isn’t over yet. The enticing story of a 17-year-old who falls in love with his father’s research assistant during the summer of 1983 has now been nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Peter Spears, one of the producers of the film, speaks about what it was like to find out his film had been nominated and the journey that brought the novel to the screen.
Q: When was the first time that Call Me By Your Name came into your life and why did it stick with you?
A: I became aware of the book when I received an advanced copy and after all this time talking about it I still don’t remember who gave it to me (laughs). I just remember reading it and having the same experience that so many others have had, which was sort of an amazement that somebody had captured so beautifully that experience of first love, specific to me because even though I grew up in Kansas, it was around the same time period and I was that age, Jewish, and gay.
It just really spoke to me in a personal way, and I had been an actor and writer for some time in Los Angeles, and so you know for me also I was interested in the experience of shepherding this from being a book to being a movie. I had spoken to a friend of mine Howard Rosenman, who had also read the book independently so we joined forces to approach the author’s (André Aciman) agent and ask her about the process of securing the rights.
Q: What did it feel like when you found out that Call Me By Your name was nominated for four Academy Awards?
A: Well, you know I’m over the moon about the recognition from the Academy with a Best Picture nomination for Luca’s masterful work, and for James, Sufjan, and Timmy, as well. What can you say? It’s wonderful. Little films like this can disappear in the blink of an eye, and the upside of all this is that people will now see the movie and have their own experience. I felt this responsibility to André, because this all began with him, and I think these nominations will help preserve the legacy of not only the movie but his book and I hope many more people will now read his book. So already, there’s a sense of winning beyond the nominations.
Q: Luca has mentioned a four hour extended cut of the film, is this something that could be featured on the DVD or released at any point?
A: I don’t know the answer to that really. I’ve seen that cut, but I think the movie stands on it’s own as the movie that Luca wanted people to see. It’s not like we brought that cut to the studio and they said it can’t be that long, that wasn’t the case here, it was just sort of a draft. It wasn’t that we made a four hour movie and they said it had to be shorter. You know it was just a part of editing and crafting the film. It’s just like writing, it’s about not just adding but also removing. Luca works very closely with his editor and so the movie you saw was the movie he wanted to make, the story he wanted to tell.
Catch Call Me Your Name in limited North American theatres before it hits the red carpet for the 90th Academy Awards on March 4 and you can check out my Call Me By Your Name blog here for more of my interviews.