The Wonders of Timotheé Chalamet

In honor of the new Netflix Original, The King, I bring to you an article about none other than Timothée Chalamet, pronounced “TEE-MO-TAY SHALL-A-MAY.” At only 23, the young actor has already starred in two best picture nominated films: Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name. Likewise, in 2018, his role of Elio Perlman in the latter earned him a nomination for Best Actor. Despite these recognitions, he remains humble. In an interview with the BBC he admits: “I get starstruck continuously, and I’m nervous about ever getting accustomed to it.” 

I believe what makes him so extraordinary is his authenticity – on screen and off. 

His commercial acting career began like many others, on Law & Order in 2009. However, it arguably wasn't until 2017 when his name regularly started ringing through households. The indie film, Call Me by Your Name, was adapted from the 2007 novel by André Aciman. The story explores the complexities of youth, sexuality, and love. It is daring but essential, and Chalamet, with Armie Hammer as his love interest, triumph on screen. 

Having acted for years in my youth, I have the phrase “acting is reacting” drilled in my brain from the voices of various directors and teachers. The remarkable talent of Chalamet is precisely this. 

He not only acts with dedication but reacts with fierce cunning. Most actors know that the hardest roles to play are those of the ordinary person. How do we manifest them into someone special and worth remembering? How do we make you believe us? It is the small things: the anxious twisting of the hands together, the biting of a lip, the pattern of light your eyes follow. All of these things and more define his superior performance. Pay attention to the control of expression in the phenomenal couch scene with his father, to the break of the fourth wall at the end. 

He has a knack, too, for charismatic characters, taking up heartthrob roles in Lady Bird and Hot Summer Nights. More heart-wrenching, however, are his roles like that in Beautiful Boy where he must act introspectively and with care, taking on the true story of a young meth addict. 

The King, a period piece, based mostly on Shakespeare’s Henry V, reminds viewers of the impulsivity of man but also of just how gripping Chalamet can be. He plays the leading role, Prince Hal or King Henry V of England (fun fact: his middle name happens to be Hal). It is up to interpretation whether this role is a turning point for his career since so many still view him as a “collective teenage crush”. However, we cannot ignore the sincerity of his performance and the vigor with which he speaks every line. 

We take good acting and good actors for granted sometimes. Perhaps, it is because we know that Hollywood will never run out of hungry actors, and we hope there are hidden stars in the crowd yet to be discovered, but I challenge you to imagine Forrest Gump without Tom Hanks, or Sophie's Choice without Meryl Streep. 

Vulnerable, but confident, I stand before you claiming that Chalamet will not disappear from our screens, and he will be an actor of the coming generation. An actor for people dreaming of hitting the Hollywood screens to look up to. 

His upcoming roles include Little Women in December 2019, and Dune and The French Dispatch in 2020.