An In Conversation On Harry Styles and Timothée Chalamet’s In Conversation


Last week, someone at i-D read my dream journal and published a conversation between Harry Styles and Timothée Chalamet, with the singer interviewing the actor about his movie Beautiful Boy, social media and masculinity. Naturally, Twitter kind of exploded in a supernova of joy at the interview’s release. To channel the reaction into something more condensed, I chatted to Larisha Paul, a NYU student and fellow music journalist/Harry and Timothée stan. Read our convo below.

Hannah: So let’s talk about Harry and Timotay.

Larisha: I love this.

H: So what was your favorite part of this interview? Because there's just so much to unpack.

L: There's so much. I read it like four times.

H: Me too. I had class, and I couldn’t get out of bed, I was like, I need to read this 10 times.

L: I think my favorite part is the fact that I learned way more about Harry reading this than Timothée, which was very odd.

H: I’m doing a project in school about Harry right now and I’ve been rereading all of his interviews, so when this one came out I was like holy shit, I’ve been reading these interviews where he says absolutely nothing, just the same thing over and over again, and then I get to this one where it’s not even about him, and I learn so much more.

L: Yeah I was just listening to The New York Times’ Popcast where Joe Coscarelli (New York Times music reporter) was talking about his interview with Harry before his album came out, and how Harry’s so media trained from his time in One Direction, to the point where when he’d finish answering a question he’d say something like, did I skirt around that okay? Did I get out of answering the question well enough? That would drive me crazy.

H: I remember that episode. I remember them talking about it and the interviewer was like, yeah, I got him to answer one question. That interview was so short and just really not substantive at all. But I think in this one maybe because he's in control, he feels more comfortable revealing stuff about himself. I don't really know what it is, but that's the only difference.

L: It also might be because Timothée is also in the entertainment industry, so Harry may think he "gets it" more so than a journalist. I'm like, yeah, let him steal our job or whatever, but…

H: Harry Styles, Culture Journalist. I mean it's clear that he like really, really prepared and he really wanted to talk to Timothée and he really took it very seriously because he's like, my first question, David Bowie once said… I was like, damn boy, you came prepared.  

L: He came in with these fire questions! I was like, where did you get these from? I was wondering if he came up with these questions by putting himself in Timothée’s shoes, asking the type of questions he would’ve wanted to be asked at that age. A lot of the time he gets interviewed it’s like oh, who are you dating? I don't care. Can we talk about this album? Like there's so much more there, but he doesn't get [those kind of questions.]

H: Even though Timothée’s only a few years younger than him, Harry probably sees him as being in a similar position as when he was starting his own career.

L: I think if Harry wants to continue with acting, for him this is someone with the closest parallel of what he wants to do.

H: I think this whole interview was a scheme on Harry's part to get himself into a Greta Gerwig movie. That's my conspiracy theory of the day.

L: I have so many screenshots of this interview. I wasn’t planning on screenshotting the whole thing, normally I only do that if there’s a really good quote. I knew the interview was going to be hyped no matter what was in it, just because of who it was with, and I can never trust my timeline because Harry could produce actual garbage and they would hype it. Then I read it and I just kept screenshotting.

H: What do you think is better about this interview than most celeb-on-celeb interviews, which often don’t turn out great?

L: I feel like they lined up well, because yes they both want to talk about music and acting, but it made sense, they sounded like they were just friends talking and it was really authentic. Sometimes when you have those interviews it clearly sounds like someone else wrote the questions and then just gave it to the person to ask, but it doesn’t feel that way here. Like we were saying, Harry really put some time and and effort into making these questions, writing, that whole process, even making sure that Timothée would be comfortable with the questions, like when he brought up the peach thing.

H: Which was iconic. So what were your screenshots, what moments did you have to save?

L: The New York or L.A. question.

H: Harry let us down.

L: Also the question about Big Mouth, when Harry asks him if he’s ever watched Big Mouth. I can’t envision Harry sitting down and watching a show like that.

H: I don’t think I can picture Harry doing anything besides performing and like, standing on streets in L.A. I would never have thought he would have been into Big Mouth. How lucky are we to live in a timeline where we know Harry Styles knows about John Mulaney?

L: Exactly! I want to know what his favorite quotes are, I want an interview that’s just him reciting quotes.

H: How do you feel about the part where Harry says that he wears necklaces that his friend's kids have made him in music videos, because I cried.

L: That was the first thing I screenshotted, I was like he is an angel. It’s such a him thing to do, because of everything that’s happened over the years he’s not a social media person. You don’t know about these things kinds of things from him tweeting about it; the only way for him to kind of get around that is to hide it within his music and and visuals and everything like that. So on brand for him.

H: Let's talk about the social media part of it because they go pretty deep.

L: That stressed me out.

H: Why?

L: I get why he’s like that, because it’s different for famous people. For me to be like, oh, social media isn’t toxic isn’t the same because I don’t have millions of people following me and I don’t have hate being sent to me.

H: It's nice to know that like he's not doing it because he doesn't want to engage with people, but because he says he's genuinely happier when he's not on it. And Timothée seems to agree, but he's a bit more active. He just posts like pictures of like, his shoes a lot, you know? My mom came up to me the other day, totally no context and said Timothée is just the worst at Instagram and I was like, do tell, mom, and she goes, he just posts nonsense. Then she opens his Instagram and starts showing me photos like look at this picture, this is nothing. She tells me I want to see better things. And I'm like, okay, I'll let him know.

L: I’m sure he’ll listen to you. I was thinking as I was reading this, Harry sounds so much older than he actually is.

H: He really does. And I think he always has. I think it's definitely because of how quickly he had to grow up, but I think it's also just his personality.

L: Yeah, he seems like the type to stay in and light candles and drink ginger ale.

H: And watch Big Mouth. Most of the tweets about the interview have been crazy positive, but I have seen some guys sort of making fun of it, trying to dumb it down.

L: Yeah, I saw a lot of comments poking fun at the masculinity part of the interview.

H: What do you think about that?

L: I feel like people just want things to be mad about. It’s not like it was an iconic, outlandish thing to say—that femininity doesn’t weaken masculinity, but I think they just saw so many people saying they really liked this article, and you know when men do that thing where they see young girls enjoying something and they think that the world will end. I felt like it was one of those.  

H: Totally. I know that section about masculinity is not "revolutionary" in 2018 because those are things that a lot of people are talking about now. But for two guys who are the pinnacle of the hottest actor right now and the hottest musician right now to talk about that is pretty big. It’s nice that the two guys in those positions right now are smart, young, intelligent people. They’re also pretty weird, though.

L: Oh, they’re really weird.

H: That’s what makes the interview so delightful. It's not a boring interview, you can’t say it’s boring. Like, I can understand people's critiques about it, but you can't say it's boring.

L: Yeah. I’m still taken aback by the Jay-Z or Beyoncé question.

H: And Cardi or Nicki! How do we feel knowing that Timmy asked Harry to do this personally?

L: I appreciate that with my whole heart and soul. This interview is an essential piece of my life now, I needed it, but I didn't know I needed it and I realize now that I can't live without it.

H: Everyone say, "Thank you, Timothée"!