Italian director Luca Guadagnino and the cast of his cannibal love story, Bones and All — including Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell — met the press at the Venice Film Festival on Friday ahead of the film’s world premiere on the Lido.
The film marks a reunion for Chalamet and Guadagnino after their collaboration on Call Me by Your Name launched the young actor’s career as an A-list leading man back in 2017.
A coming-of-age romantic horror film, Bones and All follows two alienated teens, Maren (Russell) and Lee (Chalamet), who find a connection in a shared love of flesh during a road trip across the American Midwest in the 1980s. The supporting cast includes Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Chloë Sevigny, Jessica Harper and filmmaker David Gordon Green. Adapted by David Kajganich, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis.
Asked about his decision to reunite with Guadagnino during a break between filming installments of his blockbuster franchise Dune, Chalamet said he was drawn to Bones and All by the opportunity to work on a more intimate character study.
“That story is about someone who’s on a prophecy — on a path — and he can’t get off it,” he explained. “I was dying to work with Luca again to tell a story that was grounded like the first story we told, only this time in the American Midwest in the ‘80s, and about people that are disenfranchised in every way possible.”
The actor said he thought the characters of Bones and All, whose unique predilections isolate them from ordinary social life, would resonate with the loneliness many have felt during the COVID-19 pandemic — and with the alienation that many young people everywhere feel amidst an onslaught of social media and Internet culture.
“To be young now, and to be young whenever — I can only speak for my generation — is to be intensely judged,” Chalamet said. “I can’t imagine what it is like to grow up with the onslaught of social media, and it was a relief to play characters who are wrestling with an internal dilemma absent the ability to go on Reddit, or Twitter, Instagram or TikTok to figure out where they fit in.”
He went on: “Without casting judgment on that — because you can find your tribe there — but I think it’s tough to be alive now. I think societal collapse is in the air — it smells like it — and, without being pretentious, that’s why hopefully movies matter.”
The film was made at the height of the pandemic, and Chalamet said the disconnection of that moment was informative to his approach to his Bones and All character, Lee.
“A big part of it was a tribelessness, was being cut off from the social contact that helps us understand where we are in the world,” he said. “Not that we’re attention hungry narcissistic beings, but nonetheless you need that contact to understand where you are and I felt a similar disillusionment that I think Lee was feeling in the script at that point.”
Bones and All premieres Friday night in Venice. MGM has domestic and international distribution rights to the film, aside from in Italy, where Vision Distribution will release it. The film will unfurl globally in late November.