It's been a year since Timothée Chalamet took his rightful spot as the new teen heartthrob on the block. Now, he's starring in a new movie Beautiful Boy and i-D—in a move that's sure to please fan fiction writers everywhere—came up with the brilliant idea of letting another beautiful boy, Harry Styles, interview him. In the interview, Chalamet and Styles not only joke about the infamous peach scene in Call Me by Your Name, but they discuss addiction as seen in Beautiful Boy, social media, and the use of celebrity as activism.
The Oscar-nominated actor plays Nic in Beautiful Boy, a San Francisco teen who becomes addicted to crystal meth. In the interview, Chalamet shares why the role of Nic was appealing to him and why choosing a role as someone who struggled with substance abuse was important.
It’s comforting for people to give a face to addiction and think it couldn’t affect you, your family or your loved ones. When the reality, like you said, is that it’s an illness that doesn’t discriminate. It knows no race, class or gender. It’s a very human illness that affects a lot of people our age. One of the things I really like about Beautiful Boy is it doesn’t really get into why Nic’s addicted. I think it’s easier for people to think it’s a choice, that when people are addicted they’re on this big party binge and euphoria, when there’s often a big black hole, as Nic would say, or a place of pain.
Chalamet has certainly had his share of #MCM posts on Instagram, but the actor revealed that he is a bit jealous of the times before social media reigned supreme.
In the late 00s, when the Arab Spring happened in Egypt, there was a real optimism around the internet and the possibilities of social media. But in the last three or four years, there’s almost been a second wave of social media where people only hear what they want to hear and they only yell into their echo chamber... On a more micro level and in my experience, social media is really tricky to navigate because the last thing I want to do as an artist is create in a vacuum. But if you read the comments, then you’re opening yourself up to real self-damage. I am envious of a time when people really locked eyes and there wasn’t the escape of a screen. It’s the caricature of someone at a party scrolling through Tetris.
In the interview, Styles and Chalamet discuss the ever-changing role of celebrity and activism, in an era where politics and art runs in tandem. The Beautiful Boy actor shares how he grapples with being socially aware.
I don’t know if it’s a pressure, I do feel it’s a responsibility though. I was talking about this with Steve Carell, about how there was a general complacency in previous generations that everything was going along nicely and that ratcheted the stakes up really high. People our age are so much more engaged, and I think that’s a good thing.
The interview between Chalamet and Styles, both mega stars in their own way, is more than two boys catching up over the phone. Here, Chalamet is trying to dismantle any label the world projects onto him, especially when it comes to masculinity. "People like Lil B—I hope people won’t roll their eyes reading this—was really impactful for me because he really blurred those lines as a musician," he said. "I would be so thrilled to know that the roles I’m playing are instigating change in some way." You'll read this thinking there were so many things to him that you'd never imagine like his affinity for Lil B and Rick & Morty (we'll let that one slide), but also some things you hoped he'd say, like that he prefers to sleep in the nude. Nice.
Read the entire interview at i-D.
Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.