Timothée Chalamet has been an award season standout, charming audiences with humble stories about his massive breakout in “Call Me By Your Name.” His Jan. 3 speech at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, where he received the Best Actor award, was a fantastic introduction to the actor’s backstory, from his family life spent in the NYC ballet world to his brotherly relationship with “Name” co-star Armie Hammer. But perhaps the most interesting moment of the speech was when he revealed how “The Dark Knight” changed his life.
“When I was 12 years old, after attending one of my sister Pauline’s [ballet] performances, I petitioned my Mom and grandma to see Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ with me,” Chalamet said. “We went to AMC Empire 25 in Times Square for a 7:30 screening. I left that theatre a changed man, and I’m serious about that. Heath Ledger’s performance in that film was visceral and viral to me, and I now had the acting bug. I didn’t know that around that time, Mr. Ledger was accepting the award for Best Actor at the New York Film Critics Circle for ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ I didn’t know that a brilliant director halfway across the world named Luca Guadagnino was beginning preproduction on a film called ‘I Am Love.’ I didn’t know that Michael Stuhlbarg was wowing audiences in ‘The Pillowman’ on Broadway. I didn’t know that a nervous Armie Hammer was getting prepared to audition for David Fincher in ‘The Social Network.’ I did not know that a genius author named André Aciman was in a small apartment on the Upper West Side putting the finishing touches on a book called ‘Call Me By Your Name.’ And there was certainly no idea that I would get to collaborate with all of these incredible artists some eight years later in northern Italy for three months, an immersive acting experience I will use as a model to prepare for all my future roles.”
Listen to Chalamet’s full speech, full of charming anecdotes and the year’s best Tiffany Haddish shoutout, below: