For Greta Gerwig’s update of Little Women, the director knew a lot would ride on the story’s romantic hero, Laurie. And who better to emulate the sort of dandy she saw the character as than Timothée Chalamet?
“It's something that was in the text, and it was all over the text — even with the beginning, it was Laurie being a boy with a girl's name and Jo being a girl with a boy’s name,” Gerwig told Out during a press day for the film in Louisa May Alcott’s hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. Gerwig and costume designer Jacqueline Durran had Laurie and Jo (Saoirse Ronan) swap clothing to heighten their blurred gender roles. “Each one of them embodies the thing that I was looking for, which is Timothée is beautiful and Saoirse handsome and they're kind of both just gorgeous specimens of people.”
The director had Chalamet look at “a lot of literature going back to the sort of the idea of a dandy or a flâneur in the 19th century.” She added that Chalamet is “redefining masculinity, redefining what it is to be a leading male in a way that I think is very important for us right now.”
And of course, we had to ask Chalamet about his status as Hollywood’s prince of twinks, something he calls “good fortune.”“I stumbled into Call Me by Your Name,” he explains. “That book inspired me and that director inspired me and I hoped the fans of the book would see it, basically.” The actor is grateful he could help “present a version of love that people don't understand to be niche... that isn’t prosecuted or persecuted, that it's just a thing.”
Chalamet added that the “greatest thing about, specifically, Call Me by Your Name, is when people are, to this day, two, three years later or whatever" come up to him and express how much the film meant to them. “And it could be no words. It can be a silent communication, which can happen in the street, and it's the coolest thing.”
Little Women is in theaters December 25.