Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino intends to tackle the 1980s AIDS crisis head-on with the sequel, assuming that the project ultimately comes to pass. While André Aciman's 2007 novel Call Me By Your Name takes place in 1987, Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory bumped the timeline back to 1983 for their film adaptation of the summer romance between seventeen year old Elio Perlman and his father's academic assistant, Oliver. Since HIV was only being discovered around the time of the movie's events, Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name doesn't actually touch on that issue or related political matters of the decade.
Guadagnino has since confirmed that the Call Me By Your Name sequel would be more politically charged, in no small part because it would pick up with Elio and Oliver around the end of the Cold War, and might even take place in Berlin circa 1989. However, in keeping with the approach and style of its predecessor, the movie would also explore issues related to AIDS, LGBTQI rights, and the collapse of the Soviet Union through the lens of culture and art, in addition to (naturally) Elio and Oliver's evolved relationship.
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Speaking to THR at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, Guadagnino confirmed that he intends to address HIV/AIDS in the Call Me By Your Name sequel, adding that "I think it's going to be a very relevant part of the story." The director went on to reveal an idea that he has for bringing the issue up in the sequel - by having Elio watch Once More, a landmark work of queer cinema (released in 1988) that was the first French film to deal with the AIDS crisis directly:
"I think Elio will be a cinephile, and I'd like him to be in a movie theater watching Paul Vecchiali's Once More. That could be the first scene [in the sequel]."
The filmmaker also reaffirmed his interest in making more than one Call Me By Your Name sequel, with Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer reprising their respective roles as Elio and Oliver each time, as both they and their characters age over the years. Guadagnino's plans for a Call Me By Your Name series have already prompted comparisons to works like François Truffaut's Adventures of Antoine Doinel and Richard Linklater's Before trilogy in that respect - and Guadagnino intends for his sequels to mature in their outlook, much like those movies do:
"In my opinion, Call Me can be the first chapter of the chronicles of the life of these people that we met in this movie, and if the first one is a story of coming of age and becoming a young man, maybe the next chapter will be, what is the position of the young man in the world, what does he want - and what is left a few years later of such an emotional punch that made him who he is?"
Call Me By Your Name only cost $3.5 million to make and had already grossed more than three times that amount in theaters, even before it was nominated for multiple Oscars (including Best Picture) this week. That means that there is a financial incentive for producing a followup here, to go along with what sounds like a pretty clear artistic vision and intent from Guadagnino. While the filmmaker also has such projects as the crime/thrillers Rio (starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal) and Burial Rites (starring Jennifer Lawrence) vying for his attention right now, he is known for being very prolific and could easily wind up getting to work on a Call Me By Your Name sequel within a year or two. As always, we will keep you posted.
More on the Call Me By Your Name sequel as it develops.