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The Rise of Timothée Chalamet, Hollywood’s New King

Long live the king. Illustration: Bráulio Amado and Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

He might be just 23, but Timothée Chalamet is already an Oscar-nominated leading man, a social-media phenomenon, and, perhaps most surprisingly, a fashion icon. This awards season, only two years after Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird, he stars again in two anticipated movies: Netflix’s The King, based loosely on Shakespeare’s “Henriad” cycle of plays, and Greta Gerwig’s star-studded adaptation of Little Women. Here, the accumulated wisdom from countless interviews of (and about) the internet’s latest boyfriend.

Where He Grew Up

New York City, on 43rd Street in Hell’s Kitchen. His mom was a dancer, his dad edited French publications at UNICEF, and his sister is an actress. (“I like to think that the need to act and be seen came from my mom’s side, but the ability to listen came from my dad’s side.”) Growing up, he liked Power Rangers and soccer and spent summers in France that, he says, led to “a little bit of ambiguity in the self-identity sense, which helps a lot creatively because I don’t feel as constricted by who I am.”

His School Years

➽ Chalamet knew he was really passionate about acting after seeing Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight at age 12: “I just had no clue what was going on in his head, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.”

➽ In 2013, he graduated from La Guardia High, the arts-school inspiration for Fame, where he dated Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes Leon.

➽ He acted in high-school theater productions but often lost the lead part to Ansel Elgort, who was one year above him.

➽ After he filmed Interstellar in 2013, Chalamet spent a year at Columbia and then transferred to NYU for a couple of semesters. “It felt like a clear decision to not [finish]; it was scary because I didn’t want to rob myself of growing as a human. But it’s been the exact opposite: going from set to set; working with creative, open people; having mentors rooting for you. There’s education within that, I guess.”

His Short-Lived Rap Career

As a high-school student, he performed and wrote rudimentary raps under the moniker Lil Timmy Tim. In one, he raps about statistics.

What He Orders at McDonald’s

“I’m a chicken-nuggets man.” He brought a bag to his first day of filming on Call Me by Your Name.

Call Him By …

“My whole life, I was Timmy, and then as I got older, it seemed like Timmy was youthing me out, so it’s been Timothée since.” His mother would email producers, asking them to correct the spelling: e, with an accent. “The real pronunciation is Timo-tay, but I can’t ask people to call me that; it just seems really pretentious.” On the set of Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig and star Saoirse Ronan started calling him “Pony.” “Because he’ll come up to Greta and me and nuzzle us,” said Ronan. “It’s quite disarming. My pretty Pony!”

His Big Break

On Homeland’s second season, he is the vice-president’s surly son, who dates the daughter of double agent Nicholas Brody, played by Damian Lewis. Lewis told his agent to give the 17-year-old a call. The agent signed the young actor, and the agent’s husband went on to produce Call Me by Your Name. “I didn’t make Timothée Chalamet,” Lewis says. “Although, of course, when I see him, I tell him I did.”

His Bigger Break

Playing the lovestruck, confused, and passionate teen Elio Perlman in Call Me by Your Name made him the youngest Best Actor Oscar nominee in 78 years.

The Almost Spider-Man

He made Marvel’s short list for the Spidey reboot Homecoming, but eventually lost to Tom Holland. “I read twice, and I left sweating in a total panic. I called my agent, [UTA’s] Brian Swardstrom, and I said, ‘Brian, I thought about this a lot, and I have to go back and knock on that door and read again.’ He told me the story of Sean Young and how in an attempt to become Catwoman she had scared everyone away when she showed up at the studio gates in costume.”

Something Greta Gerwig Has Said About Him

“They’re going to revive Tiger Beat just for him.”

The Fandom

➽ Chalamet’s fans pepper him with questions on Twitter, Photoshop him into Renaissance paintings on Instagram, and compulsively GIF his every move on Tumblr.

➽ They call him “Timmy.”

➽ Derek, a teenager from upstate New York, is acknowledged as the king within the Chalamet fan community. He has wished him good morning and good night every day for over two years on Twitter.

➽ “Where’s derek tho,” Chalamet tweeted on March 22, 2018, to the envy of many of his other fans.

➽ He has been the subject of a million and one comparisons to former teen heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio, which his Call Me by Your
Name director, Luca Guadagnino, dismissed: “I think Timothée Chalamet is Timothée Chalamet.”


That’s what he tweeted when his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi, called him his “favorite artist of the moment right now” after seeing his performance in Call Me by Your Name. The two have since become friends: Cudi was a guest at a dinner celebrating his GQ cover, Chalamet went to Cudi’s birthday dinner (with Pete Davidson and Kanye West), and Cudi was his plus-one to The King’s Venice premiere.

Relationship Status

Lately, he has been spotted kissing his King co-star Lily-Rose Depp.

He Loves High Fashion (and Vice Versa)

On red carpets, Chalamet has been known to rap Cardi B and wear experimental high fashion. He doesn’t have a stylist, as he prefers to work directly with designers, including Raf Simons and Haider Ackermann. This has led to some surprises. He had the most discussed look of the 2019 awards season: a sequin-adorned Louis Vuitton harness. “They told me it was a bib!” he said afterward. “I had a friend send me a thing that, like, sex-dungeon culture is a thing where you wear harnesses. I didn’t do it for that reason, but, uh … ”

*A version of this article appears in the October 14, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Rise of Timothée Chalamet, Hollywood’s New King