Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet play a people-eating couple in director Luca Guadagnino's film.

Bones and All stars Taylor Russell as a teenager named Maren whose budding relationship with Timothée Chalamet's Lee is complicated by the fact that both hunger for human flesh. So if video stores were still a thing, and the film's director Luca Guadagnino managed one, would he file his just-released film under 'horror' or 'romance'?

"Your question is interesting," says the Italian, whose previous films include 2016's A Bigger Splash and 2018's Suspiria remake. "Ideally, I'd like it to be under the 'Guadagnino' section, but if I have to choose one you propose, definitely 'romance.'"

Below, the director talks more about the film, reteaming with Chalamet, and his "sexy" next project.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What attracted you to Bones and All?

LUCA GUADAGNINO: Of course, I was won over by the beautiful quality of the writing of David Kajganich's script. But the actual real pulling-in point must have been how this character could carry a moral struggle within oneself, an urge of overcoming something they felt was something they couldn't deal with. In one word, I would say it was the characters.

Bones and All
Credit: Yannis Drakoulidis / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

How did you come to cast Taylor Russell in the film?

She's so wonderful. I saw her in this movie called Waves by Trey Shults. I was really surprised by the movie and the way in which the movie unfolds. I kept thinking of her every now and then. Oh, that actress, Taylor Russell, she's so good, she's so wonderful. I didn't have a precise idea for Maren when I was reading the script. It took me a couple of weeks to have a thread of thoughts that brought me back to Waves, and to Taylor. I asked to meet with her on Zoom, and I found her all-the-way convincing and wonderful, and someone that I wanted to spend time with, and I offered her the role.

When you read the script, did you immediately think of Timothée for the role of Lee?

This was immediate. I read the script and when Lee appears, I felt, Oh. Oh, oh, oh. This is a great role for Timmy.

You previously worked with him on 2017's Call Me By Your Name. Has your relationship changed over time?

Yeah, I think people that I love, and people that are part of my family, are people that I grow with. We can tell each other stories of what we did in the past. Maybe you could say, Oh, remember how small you were? It changes a lot. I changed a lot. We changed, but also we are the same, and we have a friendship, and I think we both inspire one another.

I agree that the film is a love story but obviously there are gory moments. What was it like shooting those scenes?

I mean, it's a tension between immersion, and characters being brought to life by these good actors, and at the same time, it's fun — it's like playing with dough. It's almost ridiculous, and then you have to make it absolutely believable, but at the same time you don't want it to look shocking. I try to find the balance.

There is this fabulous sequence in the film when Maren and Lee meet a sinister pair of characters played by Michael Stuhlbarg and Halloween Ends director David Gordon Green. How did you come to cast your fellow filmmaker?

I adore David, he's a buddy of mine, we've been friends for a long time now. I was making a movie which I eventually didn't make called Blood on the Tracks [an adaptation of the 1975 Bob Dylan album], in which I had many characters that I wanted to be played by directors and he was one of them. So I always had it in mind that David could be a great actor and could make a great portrait of somebody in one of my movies. When I got the script, I realized that, yeah, they could be wonderfully right, both Michael Stuhlbarg and David.

BONES AND ALL, director Luca Guadagnino, on set, 2022. ph: Yannis Drakoulidis / © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection
Director Luca Guadagnino
| Credit: Yannis Drakoulidis/MGM/Everett

Bones and All is a road movie and you traveled around the mid-West to shoot the film. What was that like?

Tiring. Hot. Constantly on the move, not very comfortable. But at the same time, [America] can be surprising and beautiful.

You've already finished another film?

I'm almost done with this great love story set in the world of tennis. I mean 'great' because it's a great script by Justin Kuritzkes. It's called Challengers and stars Zendaya, the wonderful Zendaya, and Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist who is the divine dancer — he is an actor, of course — playing Riff in West Side Story. It's a hyper-kinetic sexy comedy of manners set in the world of tennis, couldn't be more different than Bones and All.

Well, Bones and All is kind of sexy.

I like sexy.   

Bones and All is now in limited theatrical release and will expand nationwide on Wednesday. Watch the film's trailer below.

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