James Ivory won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay thanks to his work scripting “Call Me By Your Name,” but that doesn’t mean he’s completely satisfied with the final draft. The screenwriter has expressed disappointment in the past over the film’s lack of full frontal male nudity, but he flat out criticizes director Luca Guadagnino for the choice in a new interview with The Guardian.
“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” Ivory said. “He sat in this very room where I am sitting now, talking about how he would do it, so when he says that it was a conscious aesthetic decision not to – well, that’s just bullshit.”
The movie’s prominent sex scene between the characters played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer does not include any full frontal nudity. Guadagnino’s camera pans away from their bodies before intercourse and fixates on trees blowing in the wind. The director explained at the New York Film Festival last year that the decision not to show graphic nudity or explicit lovemaking was a conscious one on his part.
“To put our gaze upon their lovemaking would have been a sort of unkind intrusion,” Guadagnino said. “I think that their love is in all things, so when we gaze towards the window and we see the trees, there is a sense of witnessing that. I refuse with strong firmness that I was coy in not showing that, because I think that Oliver and Elio and Armie and Timothée, the four of them displayed a very strong intimacy and closeness in so many ways and it was enough.”
Ivory feels otherwise. The screenwriter told Variety last October that “there was all sorts of nudity” in his original screenplay. The Guardian confirms that Ivory’s intended draft specifically mentioned that the main characters be shown naked, a creative decision that was overturned once Hammer and Chalamet signed on with “no frontal nudity” clauses in their contracts. For Ivory, this decision still doesn’t feel right.
“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phoney to me,” the screenwriter said. “I never liked doing that. And I don’t do it, as you know. [In “Maurice”], the two guys have had sex and they get up and you certainly see everything there is to be seen. To me, that’s a more natural way of doing things than to hide them, or to do what Luca did, which is to pan the camera out of the window toward some trees. Well…”
“Call Me By Your Name” is now available On Demand.