There’s currently a lot of speculation over whether the Oscars will shower praise on Call Me By Your Name or ignore it. Either way, it’s become one of the most praised and highest profile gay-themed releases of the past few years, and has certainly filled a lot of column inches.
Now director Luca Guadagnino has suggested this may not be the last we see of Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer). He’s previously hinted that he’d be interested in a sequel, but now he’s posited the idea of a series of films, potentially told over many years. There is material for this, as while the film suggests a finality to the love affair between 17-year-old Elio and 25-year-old Oliver, the original novel it’s based on quickly details what happens to the duo over the next couple of decades.
Talking to The Guardian, Guadagnino says, “These characters are so fantastic, and I want to know what happens to them. The last 40 pages of the book tell you about 20 years in the life of Oliver and Elio. So I started to think about Michael Apted’s Up, and the cycle of films [Francois] Truffaut devoted to the character of Antoine Doinel. And I thought, maybe it’s not a question of sequel, it’s a question of chronicling everyone in this film. I think seeing these characters growing in the bodies of these actors will be quite fantastic.”
Apted’s Up is a documentary series which has followed the same group of people from when they were seven, with the last film catching up with them when they were 56. Antoine Doinel meanwhile was essentially Truffaut’s alter-ego, who he included in several features and short films, over the course of more than 20 years.
This suggests that rather than an imminent sequel, Guadagnino envisions waiting a few years and then making a move that catches up with his characters, or perhaps just one of the characters, and shows up where their life has gone. It’s certainly an interesting idea, although one that is pretty ambitious, so even if he wants to do it, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to. Equally, Call Me By Your Name is such a potent mixture, not least 89-year-old James Ivory’s meticulous and brilliant screenplay, that it would be difficult to capture lightning in a bottle again. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if it happens.