'Call Me By Your Name' Screenwriter Calls 'Bullsh*t' on Film's Lack of Nudity

Call Me by Your Name screenwriter James Ivory has a bone (no pun intended) to pick with director Luca Guadagnino: the fim's lack of male full-frontal nudity.

In an interview with The Guardian published Tuesday, the 89-year-old, who won an Oscar for adapting André Aciman's novel, said his screenplay explicitly specified that audiences would see Elio and Oliver (actors Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer) fully naked, shot from the front. The detail was scrapped, thanks to clauses in the actors's contracts—and Ivory still isn't happy Guadagnino caved so easily.

"When Luca says he never thought of putting nudity in, that is totally untrue," Ivory said. "He sat in this very room where I am sitting now, talking about how he would do it. So when he says that it was a conscious aesthetic decision not to—well, that's just bullshit."

Ivory isn't the only one with this complaint. Guadagnino has been fielding the question since before the film's release. Why make a film about a gay romance if you're not willing to show all the parts of gay sex?

The director responded to the criticism at the New York Film Festival in October. "To put our gaze upon their lovemaking would have been a sort of unkind intrusion," he said. "I think that their love is in all things, so when we gaze towards the window and we see the trees, there is a sense of witnessing that. I refuse with strong firmness that I was coy in not showing that, because I think that Oliver and Elio and Armie and Timothée, the four of them displayed a very strong intimacy and closeness in so many ways, and it was enough."

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FROM LEFT: Timothée Chalamet, Luca Guadagnino and Armie Hammer on the set of 'Call Me By Your Name.' Sony Pictures Classics

But for Ivory, the avoidance of genitalia left a false note in an otherwise sincerely beautiful film. "When people are wandering around before or after making love, and they're decorously covered with sheets, it's always seemed phony to me," the screenwriter told The Guardian.

He cited his 1987 film Maurice, another gay love story, in which "the two guys have had sex, and they get up and you certainly see everything there is to be seen. To me, that's a more natural way of doing things than to hide them, or to do what Luca did, which is to pan the camera out of the window toward some trees. Well…" At this point, Ivory trailed off with "a derisive snort," The Guardian said.

This isn't the first time Ivory has vented his frustrations with Guadagnino, and the director is well aware of how his screenwriter feels. (Both Ivory and Guadagnino are openly gay themselves.) Guadagnino did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment on Ivory's recent criticism, but in October he responded to Ivory calling the lack of nudity in the film "a pity" and implied it was a homophobic "American attitude."

"I am the least prudish director you can meet," Guadagnino told The Independent. "I've been very precise in using the female and male body on screen to convey all kind of emotions. I thought that the display of nudity in this specific movie was absolutely irrelevant, and I understand that for James it would have been relevant, but that is his vision, what is clear is that we had no limitations on what we wanted to do."

There's still a chance for audiences to get a full look at Elio and Oliver's full frontals. Guadagnino has confirmed he's working on a sequel with Aciman, which will take place "five or six years" after the ending of the first film.

Perhaps some time will convince Hammer and Chalamet to update those nudity riders.