‘Call Me By Your Name’ by Luca Guadagnino was praised for being a striking love story that delved into the exploration of one’s sexual identity, and has made its way to being an iconic film that explored LGBTQ+ representation. The beloved novel of the same name, written by André Aciman, tells the story of Elio, (played by Timothée Chalamet), who shares a wild summer romance with Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), an academic staying with Elio’s family. The film managed to bag four Oscar nominations and won best-adapted screenplay. However, In 2021, after multiple accusations of abuse and sexual assault, and possible cannibalism rumors by various women, Armie Hammer caused a disruption in the possible sequel of the film. A budding legacy and a noble cause to represent: has this film been tainted by the image of Armie Hammer?
A new docu-series released by Discovery+ “House of Hammer” shows not only the sexual abuse allegations against the actor but also the elaborate mistreatment endured by women from generations of the Hammer men of abuse. Hammer and his family hail from a lineage of generational wealth and are shown to be classic cases of power-tripping abusers. One of the show’s producers is even ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ actor’s aunt Casey Hammer. In an interview with TIME, “With Succession, people can say, ‘Oh my god, it’s such a powerful series and the acting is fabulous,’ but it’s all made up. It’s all scripted. But I’m here to say, my family is real and it’s a million times worse.”, she stated. She plans to expose the deepest darkest secrets of the family and it all comes back to Hammer himself, the subject of many allegations, whose career plummeted overnight due to these allegations. In 2021 after the allegations came about through social media, Hammer dropped out of two future projects which eventually led to his agency, WME, dropping him.
The women who spoke out had to deal with traumatizing situations, which led them to seek professional help. Courtney Vucekovich, one of the women who was featured in the docuseries, spoke on her panic attacks and how they led her to check herself into a 30-day partial hospitalization program for PTSD and trauma.
This time around, a follow-up project would center around the sequel to the novel, ‘Find Me’, and Guadagnino wants to put the limelight on Mafalda, who is the caretaker of the Italian summer home where the first book took place. Although there is no definite plan for the sequel, Guadagnino stated in an interview with Variety, “I would love to make a second and third and fourth chapter of all my movies. Why? Because I truly love the actors I work with, so I want to repeat the joy of doing what we did together,” he shared. “However, when it comes to Call Me By Your Name, there is no hypothesis, so there is no movie. It’s a wish and a desire.”
Despite sexual assault allegations against Hammer, in an interview with Luca Guadagnino for Variety, he stated that the possible sequel would “of course” have Armie Hammer’s character.
However, Guadagnino also told Deadline when asked about the possible sequel, “The truth of the matter is, my heart is still there, but I’m working on this movie now, and I’m hopefully going to do ‘Scarface’ soon, and I have many projects and so will focus on this side of the Atlantic and the movies I want to make.”
Can one separate art from the artist? When one falls into controversy, support for their work can be difficult. I have recently found it challenging to listen to artists like Kanye West or Tory Lanez—the same can be said for the struggle that arises during a rewatch of Guadagnino’s film. Hammer’s work in ‘Call me by your name’ is a product of his acting skills. Honed by years of experience, Hammer gave life to the script he was given and what he has done as an actor cannot be taken away from him. He has crafted a character we’ve grown to love, and placed his own stamp on it, making it solely, uniquely his.
When a film has played an important role in one’s identity, certain things that make a film are engrained in the mind. But one has to take into consideration the bigger picture, which is the idea that the film wants to express to us. In an article by The Slate, “It is possible to separate art from the artist, and at the same time, it’s kind of impossible. The circumstances of the situation play a big role in whether or not the two can be separated. The biggest circumstance is whether or not the art played a major role in the actions of the artist.” In Hammer’s case, he identifies as straight, while his character is more sexually explorative. These facts make the task easier to do, however, that does not quite make a dent if the work is truly commendable. It all lies within the audience.
In the end, what is needed is to be held accountable for one’s actions. For others, this might be easy, but for some, art is so heavily tied to one’s being that it is so personal. A film like ‘Call me by your name’ has a very personal experience for multiple people, it is one where separating the artist from the art can be so perplexing.