Call Me By Your Name author says people with ‘small minds’ discuss straight actors playing LGBT+ roles
The author of Call Me By Your Name, André Aciman, has said he thinks discussing whether straight actors can play LGBT+ roles is for people with “small minds”.
Call Me By Your Name began life as a Aciman’s debut novel in 2007 and later became an Academy Award-nominated film in 2017, written by James Ivory and directed by Luca Guadagnino.
The two lead roles of lovers Elio and Oliver were portrayed in the movie by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer respectively, but neither actor identifies at LGBT+.
But when asked if he believed that straight actors should be given LGBT+ roles over underrepresented LGBT+ actors in an interview with The Independent, Aciman dismissed the debate, comparing it to an actor having to be a virgin to play the virgin Mary.
He said: “I leave it to people with small minds to discuss that. I find it tiresome.
“I came up with the perfect metaphor on the matter: If you’re going to have a movie about Jesus Christ, does his mother have to be a virgin?”
Apart from the casting of straight actors in gay roles, the film has also been criticised for portraying a fantasy LGBT+ relationship, free from discrimination and prejudice.
Aciman said: “I didn’t want it to delve into the familiar tropes of violence against gay people.
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“It is a beautiful love story that unfolds as it would between two straight adolescents.”
However he said he does not believe the film would have been as successful had it shown an opposite-sex relationship, which was how he originially envisioned the story.
He continued: “That’s how the story started until I decided to take a totally different turn, and I am exceptionally pleased that I did.
“I like writing about people finding themselves in mildly unusual situations. An adolescent girl and adolescent boy presented a situation that was quite ordinary.
“But an adolescent drawn to someone of his same sex presented all manner of psychological hurdles, and that is what I love to write about.”
Find Me, the long-awaited sequel to Call Me By Your Name, will be published on October 29.