Right off, ‘Beautiful Boy’ star Chalamet felt ‘natural’ bond with Steve Carell

SHARE Right off, ‘Beautiful Boy’ star Chalamet felt ‘natural’ bond with Steve Carell
1052056794_79344022_e1539729363748.jpg

Steve Carell (left) and Timothee Chalamet attend a “Beautiful Boy” screening Saturday at the 62nd BFI London Film Festival. | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet both knew the addiction drama “Beautiful Boy” hinged on the father-son relationship.

The movie is based on the twin memoirs of David Sheff and his son, Nic, about each’s perspective on Nic’s decade-long, nearly fatal plunge into meth addiction. Toggling between nightmare and memory, “Beautiful Boy,” fluctuates between addiction and recovery, between the love and anguish of a father and son.

So when the two first met at Chalamet’s final audition to read as Nic, it was a pregnant moment.

“I think it was an open-armed hug,” recalled Chalamet of his eventual co-star’s greeting. “I was very appreciative of that because I was really quite nervous going in there.”

The meeting is vivid to Carell, too. For him and everyone else in the room, it was instantly clear Chalamet (whose breakthrough Oscar-nominated role in “Call Me By Your Name” hadn’t yet come out) was the right choice.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better audition,” said Carell.

A year after Chalamet impressed audiences in his chemistry with Armie Hammer in “Call Me By Your Name,” ”Beautiful Boy” teams him with another veteran actor who has likewise been something of a mentor to the 22-year-old Chalamet. The two found they had a natural affinity for each other despite being generations apart. Chalamet grew up an “Office” fan and was most eager to hear the 56-year-old Carell’s “Daily Show” stories.

“It was natural,” said Chalamet. “I felt like we had a physical dialogue that was akin to what a father and son’s physical dialogue would be.”

“I feel absolutely the opposite,” Carrell deadpanned, cracking up his co-star.

But seriously, “he’s somebody you want to be around. He’s somebody you want to talk to. He’s such a committed actor and takes it seriously but at the same time is entirely open.”

Before shooting began, Chalamet had lunch with Nic, and Carell met David, who also visited the set several times.

“They both very bravely supported the movie,” said Carell. “There was a great sense of trust on both their behalf. They had no idea how it was going to turn out, whether it was going to be some treacly depiction of the after-school special version of this story.”

For the role, Chalamet dropped 18 pounds. But both he and Carell are cautious about playing up any of their efforts to authentically portray addiction and its toll.

“In addition to getting all the specificities of using right, it was first and foremost about the family and the relationships within that,” said Chalamet. “It’s not about mannerisms but rather the emotional truth they were living. And trying to get the moments where I’m using or high onscreen as accurate as possible without being so cavalier as to think that’s what the true experience of an addict would be.”

And as much as Carell and Chalamet focused on David and Nic, and their books, they drew as heavily from their own experiences with their fathers and, in Carell’s case, with his kids. For Carell, the film resonates most deeply as a story about a family that is flawed but full of love. In other words, most families.

“It was as deeply as I have felt for something and for a story of anything I’ve ever been involved with,” said Carell. “You can label this a story about addiction, but it’s really a story about the love between these people.”

The Latest
No area school has won a Class 1A title since Hampshire in 1979, and no West Side program — public or private — ever has won state.
Trans actor Jamie Clayton tapped into ‘all of the good and the bad things that I’ve been through’ to star in Hulu horror remake.
The scariest thing as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection tries to shake out the truth is that so many would rather believe a lie than the truth.
More than 860 people have been arrested in connection with the breach in nearly all 50 states. That includes Illinois, where at least 32 known residents face charges for their role.
Despite its name, the vegetable is native to Sicily and the Mediterranean region and might better be named Sicilian beet.