When Call Me By Your Name first premiered at Sundance in 2017, it was an instant classic. The novel of the same name was already a renowned piece of gay literature, and with the screenplay to be adapted by James Ivory, the potential was limitless. At Sundance and the many other festivals it screened at, CMBYN garnered tons of critical praise and quickly became one of the hottest films of the year.
By the time it finally came out in theaters, a passionate fanbase had already emerged, deeply invested in the film and the story before even seeing it. CMBYN ended up with four Oscar nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay, which Ivory won.
In the two years since the film’s premiere, one question has lingered: Will there be a sequel? Independent romance films are not often what you expect to kick off a franchise, but with the intense reaction to the film from both fans and critics, as well as the fact that the novel has an epilogue, a follow-up makes sense. Although nothing has been officially confirmed, Armie Hammer and director Luca Guadagnino have both discussed plans for a sequel.
For the most part, Hammer has been a vocal supporter of the idea. Back in September 2018, he cheekily responded to the question of another movie, “I would say it’s going to happen because people are already working on it.” When pressed to reveal how much he knew about the sequel, he said, “How much do I know and how much could I tell you are two very different things … I know a lot, but I can’t tell you anything.” Further, Hammer has tweeted about his excitement about the sequel, responding to Andre Acimen’s tweet announcing that he was currently writing a follow-up novel to his 2007 classic.
— Armie Hammer (@armiehammer) December 4, 2018
As for Guadagnino, he’s been excited about the prospects of a sequel since the film first came out. As early as November 2017, before the film was even fully released, the director expressed interest in a sequel — or sequels, rather. “I want to make five movies,” he told Vulture. Later in January, he revealed to The Hollywood Reporter his plans for the first scene of the second film as well as a possible timeline for the future additions. Referencing Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, he described how he envisions CMBYN as simply the first chapter in Elio and Oliver’s story.
Where the idea first runs into problems is with Ivory. The 90-year old has stated that he has no interest in making a sequel. It’s not that he doesn’t think the story is worth continuing, but instead, not enough time has passed yet. “I wouldn’t want to be involved … I can’t imagine having to make Timothée Chalamet look 45,” he said to The Film Stage in November. “I mean, that would be horrendous and so fake looking if that’s what they are going to do!”
Although no one has confirmed that was ever the plan, it is a fair point. Part of CMBYN’s appeal comes from its naturalistic look and feel, and heavy makeup has the potential to strip this away. Without Ivory on board, the sequels sit in limbo. He was attached to the first film long before anyone else and CMBYN does not exist without him. It’s hard to imagine the sequels continuing without him on board.
Despite his excitement in the past, as of a March 19th interview with Vulture, Hammer seems to be changing his mind regarding a sequel. Breaking millions of fans’ hearts across the globe, he said, “I’m sort of coming around to the idea that the first one was so special for everyone who made it, and so many people who watched it felt like it really touched them, or spoke to them. And it felt like a really perfect storm of so many things, that if we do make a second one, I think we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.”
Hammer has been advocating for the sequel for over a year up until this point, so the change of mind comes as a bit of a surprise. He continued, “I don’t know that anything will match up to the first, you know?” With this and no comments from Guadagnino in months, it seems a sequel might not be as certain as it previously seemed.
Just hours after the Hammer interview was published, Acimen announced the release date for the sequel to the novel. Fear not CMBYN fans! The new book, titled Find Me, will be released on October 29th. The story will follow Samuel Perlman (played by Michael Stuhlbarg in the film), now divorced, as he goes to visit Elio (Chalamet’s character) in Rome where he has a “chance encounter [that] leads to a relationship that changes Sami’s life definitively.”
Acimen explained his excitement to continue exploring Elio, Oliver, and the Perlmans’ stories further, stating, “The world of Call Me by Your Name never left me. Though I created the characters and was the author of their lives, what I never expected was that they’d end up teaching me things about intimacy and about love that I didn’t quite think I knew until I’d put them down on paper. The film made me realize that I wanted to be back with them and watch them over the years — which is why I wrote Find Me.”
We may not get a sequel to the film, but at least we know there’s more in store for Oliver and Elio in some form.