Dragonball: Evolution - 2009 - 14%
on Rotten Tomatoes
The Last Airbender - 2010 - 6%
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - 2010 - 36% The Lone Ranger - 2013 - 32% Exodus: Gods and Kings - 2014 - 27% Aloha - 2015 - 19% Gods of Egypt - 2016 - 12%
But I’m sure they just picked the best person for the role!!!
With at least four movies coming out this year, including the explosive Free Fire and the exquisite Call Me By Your Name, 2017 will definitely be a busy year for Armie. At Armie Hammer Global, we sat down to speak with the boss man himself about his career, his upcoming projects, and even about fans.
Let’s set the scene for all of you. It’s April Fool’s Day, but this meet up is dead serious (well…not really but at least a little bit). We are spread on three different time zones and two continents, but the common sunny weather makes it seem like the three of us are all in the same place, and of course, we’re all smiles. We won’t lie to you…it took a hot minute to all but Samurai Jack our way around some technical difficulties, but if there’s one common trait we share, it’s the ability to be absolute troopers through hardship. Thankfully, it wasn’t terribly long before we were all face-to-face (screen-to-face?) with one another and ready to delve into our little chat, starting with Armie’s incredible adaptability.
Armie Hammer Global: Your filmography is very diverse. One project is completely different from another. You’ve been in big productions, indie films, you’ve played a lot of different characters. Was this richness something you wanted and aimed for? Armie Hammer: Yes and no. You know, that’s part of the fun of being an actor; it’s getting to do all the different stuffs and getting to work with different people and do different projects, play different characters, which is a lot of fun. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve got to do a little bit of an array of different characters. But the main criteria for how I pick my projects is really who is directing it. It’s just so important in movie making, the director and his vision and his execution of that. That has so much more to do with how a movie turns out than I feel almost anything else, including the script and all the rest. It really is just about the director. More than anything I just aim to work with a diverse list of directors, therefore it’s been a great process getting to work with so many different directors and do so many different projects. I feel lucky. More so than actually I feel like I am in control of making the decisions.
What a perfect transition with our next question! We know that you would like to direct someday. What kind of director would you be? The one that writes, produces and does everything, or just stay behind the camera? It’s a good question. I don’t know yet. I know that I want to direct movies and I’ve been privileged enough to see so many great directors sort of first-hand direct movies, and I’ve said to myself, “Oh, I’m definitely going to steal that,” or, “Oh, that’s a really good idea, I’ll make sure I do that.” I would like to think that I would have the attention to details that David Fincher has, the relaxed warm nature that Stanley Tucci has, the vision that Ben Wheatley has. All the directors each bring something so different to it. I don’t know what I would bring to it because I haven’t done it yet.
Do you usually pay attention to the reviews of your movies and has one ever upset you? Have you ever critiqued a critic about you? I would ultimately like to say I never read reviews, and that they never bothered me or anything like that, but the fact of the matter is when you’re there and the movie is coming out, it’s such a sort of all-encompassing feeling where everybody is on pins and needles. Everybody is anticipating the release and what’s going to happen, how numbers are going to look, what the reviews are going to say. If they’re good people kind of celebrate and they say, “Look at this one, look at this one!”, and if they’re bad, they go, “Look what you wrote!”. It’s impossible to avoid them, just because that’s the society and that’s the age we live in now. But I don’t seek out reviews, definitely. I definitely have read things said about me, in reviews and things like that, specifically about Lone Ranger. That one got a really bad reaction from really everybody without anyone expecting it. That one didn’t feel so good, other than that, it’s been fine.
And you have received some really great reviews for Call Me By Your Name!
Yeah, we got a lot! But I’m more excited about the fact that Luca got such great reviews. We were in all those places where we were premiering the movie, and just seeing how happy it made him it was really nice.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name is the adaptation of the same titled book written by Andre Aciman. It tells the love story between Elio Perlman (played by Timothée Chalamet), a 17 years-old American-Italian boy spending the summer in the family villa in Italy, and Oliver (played by Armie in the film), a 24 years-old American scholar who stays with the Perlmans for the summer in order to work on his doctorate and help Elio’s father with his correspondences. Set in the 80’s, Call Me By Your Name takes you on a ride through a beautiful and hot Italy.
The film was very appreciated by the audiences of Sundance and the Berlinale, two movie festivals where it was played. The various screenings were followed by unanimously positive reviews from both the festivalgoers and critics. Call Me By Your Name is set to have a limited release in New York and Los Angeles starting on November 24th 2017.
Armie as Oliver in Call Me By Your Name. Picture courtesy of Sony Pictures Classic.
In the book, Elio describes Oliver as a complex person. Do you think that Oliver is as complex as Elios sees him, or is it Elio’s youth and inexperience that blinds him? It’s both. They are both really intricate and complex humans. They are two people trying to figure themselves out. They are trying to figure out life, they are trying to discover what they like, what they enjoy, what sets them off. It’s not necessarily that one is more complex than the other or anything like that. Both of them are sort of like coming of age and discovering themselves. Obviously, more or so with Elio because he is a little bit younger than Oliver. It’s honestly about two people finding a connection and really realizing that there is something deeper there and having the courage to do something about it.
And in some ways, you can really relate to what is happening to them.
Everybody has felt, at some point in their life, that feeling of butterflies in the stomach. You don’t know why you feel this when you’re around that specific person, but you know that you feel something strong with them, and having to find the courage to do something about it, the beauty that can unfold with that. And then like all great summer romances that almost everybody’s had, they end.
What was the most complicated thing about playing a role like Oliver? Were you anxious about filming the more sensual scenes? I wouldn’t say that I was anxious about filming the sensual scenes. I would say that there were things in this movie I had to do on camera that I had never done on camera before, like being comfortable being naked or being intimate with another man. I have never done that in my personal life, being intimate with another man (laughs). For me, I recognize more than anything, it was going to be a very good challenge as an actor because I would have to act, because this isn’t something I do in my everyday life, this isn’t something I really recognize. I had to do a lot of work to understand the psychology behind these guys, I had to do a lot of work to understand the things that they did together because it’s just different from how I live my life. Which is, by the way, I guess, all acting really is. It should be different from you, right? Otherwise, we are just doing the same part over and over.
Would you say that acting is a form of art?
Yes, it’s just a different medium. You don’t use paint or brushes or anything like that, but acting is one of the oldest jobs in the world, and basically our job as an actor is to be able to put ourselves into a situation and allow someone watching it a way into it.
For Call Me By Your Name for example, everybody has been talking about this peach scene, where Elio is intimate with a peach. I honestly don’t get it. Nothing about that scene really makes sense to me necessarily; because I never had sex with a piece of fruit and I have never eaten a fruit that someone else has had sex with. And I wouldn’t think a lot of people have. But our job while in that scene is to give somebody a window into it where even if they go, “I would never do that, I would not do it,” they also say, “but I understand why these two people are doing this”. It’s about experiencing it yourself while you’re there, but also emoting such a way that you give people a way into it, which is the challenge. It’s our job as an actor to sort of reflect what’s going on in society, give it back to people, give them something to think about, give them something to feel. Not to sound all grandiose or whatever.
Armie Hammer is the cool Ord in Ben Wheatley’s new movie Free Fire. Picture courtesy of A24.
Boston, 1978, a gun deal in an empty warehouse goes wrong and turns into a real bullets fest. That is Free Fire, a brilliant and explosive comedy directed by Ben Wheatley and in which Armie plays Ord, the middleman that looks way too cool for the situation. Free Fire is simply an hour and a half of pure fun and great lines sublimed by a talented cast. Already out in the UK, the movie will hit more theaters across the world by the end of April, including in North America on April 21st, Russia and Australia on April 27th.
We saw Free Fire and absolutely loved it! What struck us the most in the movie is that, despite the crazy and out of hand situation depicted, every shot seems really precise.
If you knew how much work actually went into the film and Ben. They had to plan out every bullet hit in the movie months before we got there. And then you have a bunch of actors who show up and go, “Actually, I wanna go over there and do that,” and he’s like, “Nonono you can’t go over there”. It was like a real process.
It’s so funny because when we started making that movie the script was sort of different from now. Because Ben is so fluid as a director, he writes and comes up with everything, he and his wife together. If there was anything that needed change it was changed right there on the set. And all of us got together, all the acting crew, and had such a good time with this movie that it just became funny. It really kind of became what it is now. A lot of the lines that you see that are like, the funny lines, whether it’s some of Sharlto (Copley) or some of mine, are all things that we really came up with on set.
Ord is quite the character. Despite the situation, he seems to keep things in control and it’s intriguing. Tell us a bit more about him. What is his story? Where does his calm come from?
Basically, Ord is so calm…because he’s just seen too much shit. This is like 1978, so about 8 years after he probably got back from Vietnam. This is the backstory that I gave the character. The reason why he got the nickname Ord is that he was an explosive expert in Vietnam. And his specialty, because he is a bit of a sick, twisted fucker, is that he would put posters in Vietnamese on a tree with big writing, and every line the writing would get a little bit smaller, a little bit smaller and a little bit smaller till eventually it was tiny. Then he would put landmines at the bottom of the tree so people would come up to read it and blow up. He’s a bit of a head case and he was in Vietnam, and I read a book about Vietnam called the Short Timers, which is actually a book that Full Metal Jacket is based of off. I read that and there is a really interesting line about it that says, “You don’t know the truth until you know death,” or something like that, “because death is the ultimate truth and everything else is really lies”. These guys in Vietnam expected to die every single minute so they just became friends with death, in a weird way, because they knew it was the only truth that existed, like, “He’s not a bad guy or a good guy, the truth is, he’s gonna die and I’m gonna die”. So, Ord came so close to dying so many times, like, “I should be dead so it doesn’t really matter at this point anymore”. He gets shot and he’s like, “Ah fuck”! He doesn’t have fear because he has already been so scared that nothing can scare him anymore. That’s why he’s pretty cool under pressure, that’s why he knows how to work with firearms better than anybody else, that’s why he is tactically minded, and that’s why as soon as it started to elevate, he backs up.
Do you have a lot of control on how you create your characters?
I would say it is teamwork. The writer is ultimately the one that puts everything down on paper. And then if the script is good enough, the director gets involved, and then boom you have a movie that kind of starts to go. The writer really sort of comes up with the foundation of everything. But obviously, they have written it before anybody was casted, so it’s not like he can tailor-make a role that fits perfectly. He makes the role that’s in his head. So once they hire an actor, it’s about finding symbiosis between the actor, the writer, and the director so that everybody is happy. Ultimately, you want the writer to be happy, the director to be happy and you, as an artist, you want to be happy. So it becomes more like teamwork. Sometimes you have more control sometimes you have less. I mean, when I did the Social Network, I had very little control over everything because the other people in control were David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, and I definitely don’t think I know more than these guys.
Let’s talk about Mine because that really is a big moment for you! That was the very first movie you were just starring by yourself, your name is on the poster and everywhere. How does that feel for you? And congratulations by the way!
Thank you! It was great. It was a lot of pressure, especially because, for a majority of the movie, I’m really the only person on screen. I probably shot 75% of the film by myself, as the only actor and person in the scene, which is crazy. It doesn’t really give you anything to play of off, anybody to take cues from. It was a lot of work and we shot it in the Canary Islands, small islands channel along the coast of Morocco, it was hot, it was windy, we had sandstorms, lightning strikes, and it was just crazy. It was an intense filming. But I am happy I got to work with two great new Italian directors, Fabio and Fabio. I got to work with Tom Cullen who, in my opinion, is one of the best working actors out there right now. Annabelle Wallis as well, she was fantastic, Jeff Bells…it was a lot of fun making that movie. For a movie I basically stand still the entire time, I was shocked at how physically challenging it was.
Mike has to survive 52 hours in the desert with one knee on the ground. Not the most comfortable position, how was it for you?
I was probably kneeling 10 hours a day, for a month or something. My right knee still pops and gives me trouble and hurts. I was on my right knee the whole time with my left foot up. My knee is still kind of shocked.
Armie hits where you don’t expect him, including in animated movies. Earlier this year, the actor officially joined the Cars family and voiced Jackson Storm, one of the new characters from the third installment of the Disney Pixar franchise. We don’t know much about his cool-looking character yet, except that he is really fast and, apparently, not so likable.
First of all, we are very, very excited about this particular project because we love Cars! How did you become a part of the project?
I don’t actually know. I got a phone call from my agent one day, and he was like, “Buddy, I just got a call from Pixar,” and I was like, “What?” and he’s like, “They want you to be in the new Cars movie,” and I was like, “Are you serious? I’m so excited!” I was really lucky; I didn’t have to audition, I didn’t have to do anything. They just kind of called and said, “Do you want to be in this movie?” Maybe they were like, “You know Armie is an asshole, he’d be a really good asshole in the movie.”
We read somewhere that you were chosen thanks to your role as the Winklevoss twins in the Social Network.
Well, they were assholes so there’s that (laughs).
If you have twitter, you probably already saw screen captures of, often very funny, conversations between Armie and fans. Needless to say his answers are always very appreciated by the lucky ones who receive his messages.
You answer a lot to fans online. Why do you dedicate so much time to it?
Well, the reason that I talk to you guys is really because you’re nice. You seem like well-rounded and normal people, you guys live your life. You like my work and that’s nice and I do appreciate that. I don’t answer to everybody, that’s for sure.
I would say that I spend so much time answering to people because if somebody is going to take the time to write something and go out of their way and say, “Hey man, I just wanna say I really like your movie,” or whatever, it’s nice, it’s appreciated. It is the same as like if you’re a chef and someone says, “Oh my god, I love the way you cook salmon, I love your steak.” You’re kind of an asshole if you just go, “yeah whatever”. I don’t know, they took the time to write for me, so it’s only fair that I take the time to say, “thanks I appreciate it”.
Not everybody really does that. Another thing we noticed is that there’s no sense of hierarchy with you. You treat fans as normal people, not as ones who are less than you. I think that the root of that is probably that those people, who treat people like that, think that they are not normal people, either. They think they’re above everything. At the end of the day, you’re doing your job. I trained as an actor, I went to school as an actor, this is what I studied. It’s like being an electrical engineer. I just get to do my job, I get to make movies, I get to do this. It brings so much joy to me to make movies and if it brings that much joy to someone to watch a movie, then that works, it’s great. It seems like teamwork, almost.
To finish, we offered to switch roles, allowing Armie to ask us anything he wanted. Because April Fool’s!
Armie: How much time out of your day do you spend working on the site?
Armie Hammer Global: Well, it depends on what you are doing. For example, last year, when you were promoting three different movies at each festival, it would take up to three hours every evening. We usually search for your name, for pictures, videos, interviews, and articles, and we also monitor social media. In the end, it’s really all about organization, because it also depends on how busy we are with our lives. /
*** Cars 3 will come out on June 16 in the US
Mine is now out on DVD/Blu-Ray and HD digital in Italy, Spain and the US.
“It’s the most beautiful prop I’ve ever had. It’s meant to look like ivory and it’s all inlaid and engraved. And then inside…when I pull my garter, the heel pops down and a double-barrel gun comes out, and I can shoot. I can shoot from the heel, literally.” — Helena Bonham Carter as Red Harrington | The Lone Ranger 
Movie: the loan ranger (2013)
Actors: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer
I watched this film last night….twice! It was fantastically funny, many times I found myself laughing out loud uncontrollably. Johnny Depp plays a funny Indian of few words, he is a character much like that of Captain Sparrow. The Lone Ranger is a hero struggling to grasp the disregard for the law and how it can be bought by wealthy white men.
Watch this movie if your feeling in the mood for a laugh!
I am aware this is the remake, I have never watched the original so if anyone wants to say that the other one is better feel free.
“I’m a Spirit Walker, I can’t miss.” Armie as John Reid, aka the Lone Ranger.
Lone Ranger is one of those movies that I will never get tired of watching. It makes me laugh every time, and it always puts me in a good mood. Armie is hilarious behind the mask of the ranger, but his natural charm and strength also give a very heroic vibe.
Director Luca Guadagnino and actor Armie Hammer about the power of sensuality, ugly beauty and sex in front of cameras
The Italian director Luca Guadagnino is a master of emotional, intimate theatre like ‘I Am Love’ (with Tilda Swinton) and ‘A Bigger Splash’ (with Ralph Fiennes) that unsettle and charm with their intensity. Armie Hammer rather drew attention with his complex interpretations of discrete roles, not at last with the Winklevoss twins in ‘The Social Network’. Now Luca Guadagnino assigned him with the role of Oliver, a young American that gets tangled in an armour fou (intense love affair, in his screen adaption of André Aciman’s novel ‘Call me by your name’ (Berlinale 2017/Sundance Festival).
For the VOGUE-talk they met in the Palazzo Albergoni in the Lombardy, a century old villa that is the home of an American professor, his Italian wife and their 17 year old son Elio in the movie. Oliver is a guest in their villa and like Armie Hammer he was changed by his Italian experiences.
Armie Hammer: We already talked about the fact that the atmosphere of the movie is supposed to be relaxed and loose. Thanks to you this is also true behind the camera. And that despite the hard circumstances, especially the rainfall.
Luca Guadagnino: That happens without me having to think about it. I love having guests. And this movie is about someone that is a guest. Many things in human relationships can’t be controlled but some things can be alleviated. The shooting is a hectic process full of conflicts that are related to personal discomfort. Shooting A Bigger Splash was all about it. This time I wanted to avoid such tensions. But there is always an inner tension that builds up during shooting and is related to the contents of the movie. I try to redirect the intensities between my colleagues into the movie. Especially the cultural differences between Italiens, French and American has to be channelled.
—– PROFILES —–
Name: Luca Guadagnino Job: movie, documentary and opera director Life: Born 1971 in Palermo. Childhood in Ethiopia. Study of film history in Rome, thesis about Jonathan Demme. After first short and fictional movies were ‘I Am Love’ (2009) and ‘A Bigger Splash’ (2015) internationally successful. 2013 he introduced the documentary ‘Bertolucci on Bertolucci’. Since 2013 his creative agency is producing fictional and fashion movies and supervises fashion campaigns. 2012 debut as opera director with ‘Falstaff’ in Verona. Privately: Lives in Crema, Italy.
Name: Armie Hammer Job: Actor Life: Born 1986 in Los Angeles. Childhood in Dallas and on the Cayman Islands. Dropped out of high school in Los Angeles to start his acting career. First roles in TV-shows. 2008 main role in ‘Billy: The Early Years’. 2010 ‘The Social Network’. 2011 co-star to Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘J.Edgar’. 2013 main role in ‘The Lone Ranger’. Bought the movie rights for the story of the drug lord La Barbie. Privately: Married to the actress Elizabeth Chambers. One daughter.
Armie Hammer: Your movies always play in Italy despite international cast?
Luca Guadagnino: It is easier to organise. But I don’t plan it. To tell the truth I hope this is the last movie shot in Italy for a long while. By the way I always wanted to work with you and ‘Call Me By Your Name’ was the moment to ask you. The international cast wasn’t planned, developed naturally. I would never as a European director cast an American for a reason that isn’t part of history.
Armie Hammer: I love this shooting experience and the life here. Crema, where we live, is the most pittoresk town that I can imagine. Nobody speaks English. That is completely new for me as an American who usually gets through with this. I dive into a new world 24 hours a day. And it is an analog experience. My smartphone is turned off most of the time alone because of the time difference. This isolation makes it easy to concentrate on the project. I feel like I landed in a different universe.
Luca Guadagnino: Really? You don’t know this way of shooting?
Armie Hammer: Absolutely not. I never worked with a director with where I instantly felt like we fit. I just walked into this world where everything is lovely, the colleagues, you, this villa.
Luca Guadagnino: But isn’t it always like that? I’m curious now.
Armie Hammer: You make me feel like we are equal. There’s no hierarchy here where the director is like the god where me as an actor is located beneath after the author, the producer and so on.
Luca Guadagnino: So that’s how it’s usually?
Armie Hammer: Yes, especially with projects with a gigantic budget and big studio. You are only the actor there who has to fit into the designated mould.
Luca Guadagnino: As a director I always feel like a kid that still has many years until the graduation. I still have much to explore and discover. I don’t only want to get a concept of the fictional characters but also of the actors. This attitude is probably because of the postwar movies and exploded in the 70s. With directors like Scorsese and Coppola the line between actors, characters and story blurred. I wonder how I can realise a bigger movie with this attitude, an action movie for example.
Armie Hammer: Like ‘French Connection’?
Luca Guadagnino: Absolutely. As a spectator you get completely absorbed into the lives of the cops played by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. You feel the risk that they and the director take. The movie is a phenomenal adrenaline ride. Something like this is a huge inspiration. I’m not very interested in fiction. I hate the man-made, constructed, polished way of it. I want to find out something while filming, I want to, how do they say?
Armie Hammer: Be a midwife?
Luca Guadagnino: Exactly. I am a delivery nurse. And my new interpretation of ‘Suspiria’ is gonna be as personal as ‘Call Me By Your Name’. I always felt I wanted to shoot this movie again. I want to honour the feeling that the movie caused me when I was ten. I hope that it will shock the audience.
Armie Hammer: That is an interesting idea to make a movie for the sole purpose to make the audience feel what you once did.
Luca Guadagnino: Just like I will hopefully convince the audience with our that it doesn’t matter who they fall in love with.
Armie Hammer: That they can fall in love with anyone?
Luca Guadagnino: I love the impossible and hate the possible. When I suspect that something unreachable can be realised I get really enthusiastic.
Armie Hammer: The novel from André Aciman, which inspired our movie, is also a challenge. It is narrated in its own perspective. You are completely in Elio’s head. You hear his doubts see the scenes painted by him. But the screen adaption is more the study of two people who overcome all kinds of obstacles and fears.
Luca Guadagnino: A face can tell a lot about what’s going on inside. And when you have fantastic actors then you build an emotional world that gets tangible while watching.
Armie Hammer: Normally I research for a movie for months and read everything what I can get my hands on. But for the information that I needed for the role of Oliver Aciman’s nove is not the perfect source. Instead I tried to find out what it meant to grow up in the 70s and 80s. And I got acquainted with the Jewish identity that is important for my role. But mostly I tried to understand the tone of the movie. My character is curious, sensual and open for everything that he encounters. No matter if it’s a glass of peach juice, Elio or the young Chiara. To understand that was a big part of the preparation.
Luca Guadagnino: The movie doesn’t portray Oliver like for example ‘Malèna’ by Giuseppe Tornatore was directed - as a pretty woman you stare at. That he is a good looking man was always an ironic detail for me. All characters are beautiful but not because of their physical appearance but because we gaze into their heart and soul. What is important is the emotional process that Elio undergoes and that we can see in his look. How does he deal with his crush? Does he make more out of it?
Armie Hammer: I noticed there’s not a single vanity shot in this movie where it’s about the best angle with the most flattering sun light that stages the face. But still every single shot is gorgeous in all your movies. They are incredibly cautious and subtle.
Luca Guadagnino: I’m interested in sensuousness not beauty. When I hear the word beauty I cock my gun. For me it’s about how those people submit to the sensuousness at last. In the end you can’t turn down an erotic challenge. Another impossibility that I think about constantly.
Armie Hammer: Water is a sensuous element in this movie.
Luca Guadagnino: And that while I can’t swim. When I go into the water I drown. I hate the sea, I hate the heat, the humidity, the people around me, I don’t want to present myself naked. Pantelleria was also disgusting for me while shooting ‘A Bigger Splash’.
Armie Hammer: Well, this is funny: We spend a good part of the movie in the water and that while you hate it!
Luca Guadagnino: It is about the meaning in the movie just like with the sex scenes. Technically they’re without meaning if they’re not about the dialogue between two people.
Armie Hammer: If you believe it or not I had my first sex scene in ‘Call Me By Your Name’!
Luca Guadagnino: Wait, you never did this before?
Armie Hammer: No! But you and the crew dealt with it like it would be nothing special, just another scene. And as soon as it is “Cut!” you look up and come out of the fog: there’s the boom operator, there’s the camera man and they just do their job. I wish I could fill this feeling in bottles, the feelings before and after the scene. I would need weeks to explain the difference. Anyway it doesn’t feel like anything special to me anymore either.
Luca Guadagnino: You made it emotionally completely believable. That was fantastic. Actors are in a very fragile position.
Armie Hammer: We are incredibly exposed alone because the whole crew is there.
Luca Guadagnino: The actor gives the director a credit of trust. And then the movie goes out into the world.
Armie Hammer: But that is why I became an actor.
Luca Guadagnino: And when will you become a director?
Armie Hammer: I’ll probably never write my own script. I don’t have the concentration to sit down for months. I’d really like to direct a movie though. But when I see how fluent and effortless the process is for someone like you then I tell myself I’ll never be able to do this.
Luca Guadagnino: In your opinion, what does it mean to be a director? You already worked with the best.
Armie Hammer: Well, it’s about reconcile everyone involved and always keep the outline in mind. I don’t have a single clue what processes are happening in a director, it’s all going on inside. And it’s so fast I tell myself if I ask a question now I only hinder everything. But there are directors that approach things completely different and think at every shot out loud where the camera should be placed.
Luca Guadagnino: Do you like that better?
Armie Hammer: Sure. No one is as close to the camera as the actor. And when the director walks over to start a talk with the cameraman I sure do listen closely. I always knew I wanted to make movies. As a child I went to the cinema on weekends and watched everything that was on the program. I had no idea what a director or producer does so the next thing was to become an actor.
Luca Guadagnino: To direct means to be an outcast. You have to ready yourself for a journey that’s deep and dark.
Armie Hammer: What’s the reason for that? Where does this alienation come from?
Luca Guadagnino: I thought about what I like today. While growing up I loved directors whose movies were strong, compromising and hard to take. Their movies had no success at the beginning but became legends later: Stanley Kubrick for example, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Michael Powell, Federico Fellini. Under this circumstances I can’t make a Hollywood movie. You are dead before you receive a second chance. So: I like directors that do what they want and address my desires. It’s scary but I also always get what I want. I was in love with Ralph Fiennes, his photos hung on my wall. And then he played in ‘A Bigger Splash’. It is important to get what you really want. I really need to own and desire the actors that star in my movies.
Armie Hammer: Was it the same with me?
Luca Guadagnino: When I saw ‘The Social Network’: Yes, the movie is brilliant, the script is great, Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg fantastically - but who the hell are the Winklevoss twins? There was something about you that I wanted to bring in front of the cameras.
Armie Hammer: And we did it.
Luca Guadagnino: My next goal is to find your dark side. Do you see yourself as an actor as a seducer or as seduced? I always hear that actors are seductive. But as a director I have to say that sometimes they get seduced and then left alone.
Armie Hammer: Who isn’t involved in the origination process romanticises actors. It would be really great if I would get surrounded with scripts. But the sad truth is that there are so little good directors and great scripts that everyone wants a role as soon as a good movie appears on the market. I feel more like a boxer in the fight for a chance. Sure there are colleagues that get all the fantastical commissions automatically…
Luca Guadagnino: … but you don’t even want that.
Armie Hammer: But you seduced me and it was definitely worth it. The filming with you has left as big an impression in my personal life as in my professional.
Luca Guadagnino: It’s irrelevant how many movies an actor shoots per year. It’s about giving an emotional iconic performance. And you did that. That’s how Film history works. That’s how I see it and I’m film historian.
Armie Hammer: You know more about movies than anyone else. And partly that’s the reason why you make such beautiful movies. On the other hand you gaze so interestingly at things, at everything, whatever it may be. Your opinion is always cultivated, considered carefully.
Luca Guadagnino: There are so many practical problems while filming it’s overwhelming. You have to work with every single shot and then the total out of it.
Armie Hammer: I worked with directors that said, no the trees have to be planted differently.
Luca Guadagnino: It’s crazy! That’s how I thought about it when I was 17. You shoot in a garden where everything gets redesigned. But that’s not how it works.
Armie Hammer: I know other directors that like midwifes let things take their way.
Luca Guadagnino: There we come to the masters of the subject. They didn’t close the door to reality, how Jean Renoir once said.
The talk was moderated by Ingeborg Harms Photo by Peter Rigaud Original text published in VOGUE GERMANY, January 2017 issue, translated from German into English by Nici Jones.
I know. It’s hard to rebuke something you really enjoy, like Fantastic Beasts, a story that reimagined Harlem, NY as minority Black in the 1920s. But it’s not really causing harm, right?
Tell that to Bass Reeves. (Or, you know, his ghost).
Bass Reeves was an Oklahoma lawman in The Old West. Born into slavery, he grew up into a legendary American hero, like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.
Except, oh wait, unless you’re an avid watcher of Drunk History, he’s probably not anywhere near the household name Boone and Crockett are.
There is controversy over whether Reeves was the true inspiration for The Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger, they argue, was always imagined as a white man. Of course he was! That doesn’t change the fact that historically, if you look at all the Old West lawmen, the one who comes closest to the fictional Lone Ranger is Bass Reeves. It doesn’t matter that the Lone Ranger was created as a white character with no nod to Reeves – The Lone Ranger is effectively erasure.
And it’s not just something backward ‘50s people did. The 2013 Lone Ranger movie did it, too.
But wait, you say – if The Lone Ranger was always white in popular media, it’s not whitewashing to portray him white like in the traditional stories!
Except it is. Here’s why.
When popular media decides that the greatest lawman of the Old West was a white man when, in reality, the man closest to the fictional hero was Black, it amounts to historical revisionism. Especially since Bass Reeves himself isn’t as well known as Crockett, Boone, or even Paddy Garrett.
Think about how different things would be if the Lone Ranger had been Black from the start. It’s historically accurate, after all, it’s not “political correctness.” Kids going back to the early 20th Century looking up to a Black Old West hero? It’s unimaginable, but it would have been based more in reality.
Instead, kids were given the illusion of an all-white “good guys” Old West. Not just white kids, Black kids were told that, too.