'When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,' James Ivory said

Call Me By Your Name screenwriter James Ivory called out director Luca Guadagnino over the Oscar-winning film’s lack of nudity, digging up an old point of contention among certain critics and viewers.

“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” Ivory told The Guardian in an interview. “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 bullsh–.”

Call Me By Your Name sparked many a think piece over the avoidance of nudity, especially when the original novel revels in this imagery. Guadagnino gave various explanations as to why there’s such an absence of male nudity in the film. Speaking in his defense to The Independent, he remarked, “I am the least prudish director you can meet. I’ve been very precise in using the female and male body on screen to convey all kind of emotions. I thought that the display of nudity in this specific movie was absolutely irrelevant and I understand that for James it would have been relevant but that is his vision, what is clear is that we had no limitations on what we wanted to do.”

“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phony to me,” Ivory, who won an Oscar for the film’s screenplay, continued. “I never liked doing that. And I don’t do it, as you know.” He referred 1987’s Maurice, a film he directed based on the novel by E.M. Forster. “The two guys have had sex and they get up and you certainly see everything there is to be seen,” he said. “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.”

Call Me By Your Name tells the story of 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) falling in love with Oliver (Armie Hammer), an older intern who’s come to spend the summer working with Elio’s father at the family’s Italian villa.

Ivory had told Variety in October that, “according to Luca, both actors had it in their contract that there would be no frontal nudity.” Hammer, in turn, told IndieWire he felt relieved that you don’t see anything beyond his exposed rear.

“I have a daughter who will one day go to junior high and it somewhat terrifies me, the idea that people would tease her, like, ‘Here’s a picture of your dad’s dick,’” he said. “We definitely shot more than you see.”

Call Me by Your Name
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  • Luca Guadagnino