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Timothée Chalamet Reveals How Heath Ledger’s ‘Dark Knight’ Performance Inspired Him To Act

Chalamet paid tribute to the late actor during his New York Film Critics Circle Awards speech.

Timothée Chalamet

Timothée Chalamet accepting his New York Film Critics’ Circle Award on Jan. 3.

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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:

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