The screenwriter for the 2017 film Call Me By Your Name just spilled some, uh, peach juice about the actor who was up for role of Timothée Chalamet’s lover, Oliver, before the director ultimately chose alleged cannibalistic abuser Armie Hammer.
James Ivory, who wrote a memoir titled Solid Ivory that was excerpted in GQ this week, says director Luca Guadagnino dropped him from being co-director of the gay romance film sans notice. Ivory said he was “never told why I had been dropped, by Luca or anybody else: it was presented in an ‘it has been decided that…’ sort of way.” The actor Shia LaBeouf, he said, “was also dropped like that.”
LaBeouf, who was sued earlier this year by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs for his “relentless” abuse, had apparently been contacted to play Oliver before Guadagnino settled on Hammer.
“He’s an extremely good actor. But as an academic writing about the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, he would be a stretch,” explained Ivory, before sharing that LaBeouf eventually read for the part in New York alongside Chalamet and even paid for his own plane ticket to do so.
“Luca and I had been blown away. The reading by the two young actors had been sensational; they made a very convincing hot couple,” said Ivory, adding that “then, too, Shia was dropped.”
Ivory cited “some bad publicity,” adding that the actor had a fight with his girlfriend and “fended off the police somewhere when they had tried to calm him down.”
Calling it “bad press” is putting it mildly. LaBeouf faced not just the lawsuit, which publicly accused him of sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress, in the last year. He also made headlines related to his history of alcoholism and aggression, and later got dropped from his talent agency, CAA.
Despite this, Ivory says that while “Luca would not call him, or his agent,” he “emailed Shia to offer reassurance.”
“But then Luca cast Armie Hammer and never spoke to, or of, Shia again,” he said.
And that decision, as we now know, was deeply problematic in its own right.