“We Are Who We Are,” Luca Guadagnino’s first television series, is an Italian-set coming-of-age drama about two teenagers discovering their sexual identities, but that doesn’t mean the filmmaker is simply riffing on his Oscar-winning 2017 gay romance “Call Me by Your Name.” As the filmmaker told Variety in an interview earlier this year, “I will never complain about people’s laziness, but that [comparison] sounds very lazy. ‘Call Me by Your Name’ is about the past seen through the prism of a cinematic narrative and this is about the here and now. This is about the bodies and souls of now. I think they are so different.”
So what is “We Are Who We Are”? The series centers on two characters who befriend each other on an Italian military base. “It” and “Shazam” breakout Jack Dylan Grazer plays Fraser, an introverted 14-year-old who moves to the base from New York with his military mothers, played by Chloë Sevigny and Alice Braga. Newcomer Jordan Kristine Seamón plays Caitlin, a confident teenager who has lived on the Italian army base for several years. Fraser and Caitlin become friends, and their burgeoning relationship is tested as the two teens face personal dilemmas while coming of age.
Guadagnino directed all eight episodes of the show, which he also created. The series is Guadagnino’s first television project and follows his features “Call Me by Your Name” and “Suspiria,” plus his short film “The Staggering Girl.” While the project runs eight episodes, Guadagnino conceived it more as a film project than an episodic television narrative.
“I feel like on the one hand that this is a new film of mine,” the director told Variety. “It feels like a movie to me, but I enjoyed the episodic-ness of the story. This is a series and it depends on how it clicks with an audience if we will see these people again. I have sort of a penchant for bringing back to life characters that I love. I truly love all the characters in this show. The greatness of doing TV is that if there’s a good outcome, this can come back, which would be beautiful to me.”
“We Are Who We Are” will debut September 14 at 10pm ET on HBO. Watch the official trailer for the series in the video below.