Count Oscar-winning screenwriter James Ivory among those dissatisfied with the lack of male nudity in “Call Me by Your Name.”
Ivory discusses his original screenplay for the acclaimed romantic drama, which was based on André Aciman’s 2007 novel, in a lengthy interview in The Guardian. In it, he seemed to agree with a number of critics who called out the film for presenting a sanitized version of a same-sex relationship.
The screenwriter, who is openly gay, told The Guardian’s Ryan Gilbey that his script called for Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) to appear naked. Both Chalamet and Hammer had no-frontal-nudity clauses written into their contracts, however, which overruled Ivory’s original specifications.
Still, he reserved his criticisms for director Luca Guadagnino, who has said that explicit nudity was “absolutely irrelevant” to his vision for the film.
“When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue,” Ivory said Tuesday. “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.”
“When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they’re decorously covered with sheets, it’s always seemed phony to me,” he added. “I never liked doing that. And I don’t do it, as you know.”
He went on to compare “Call Me by Your Name” unfavorably to 1987′s “Maurice,” which he directed. Based on E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel, the movie starred Rupert Graves and James Wilby as gay lovers in early 20th century England.
After one of the film’s love scenes, Ivory said, Graves and Wilby “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…”
While Ivory took home the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay for his “Call Me by Your Name” script last month, he’s been outspoken about his frustrations with the film’s lack of nudity on more than one occasion.
In October, he blamed the movie’s modesty on the “American attitude” of its stars and creators in an interview with Variety.
“Nobody seems to care that much, or be shocked, about a totally naked woman. It’s the men,” he said. “This is something that must be so deeply cultural that one should ask: ‘Why?’”
CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that Hugh Grant shot love scenes in”Maurice” opposite James Wilby. Though Grant is in the “Maurice” cast, the love scenes feature Rupert Graves opposite Wilby.