It's been a big 12 months for actor Timothee Chalamet. A year ago, he was on the cusp of stardom, with major award season buzz surrounding the young actor following his breakout turns in Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird.
Both went on to be critical and commercial hits, with the one-two punch helping to cement Chalamet as one of the most exciting young talents to emerge in recent years.
The internet fell in love with his hair, tabloid coverage of his romantic life ran rampant, and he garnered a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his sensitive performance in Call Me By Your Name. Oscar night served as his unofficial coronation as the newest prince of Hollywood.
But Chalamet says his day-to-day life wasn't overly impacted by his newfound fame, which he coped with by throwing himself into working on his new film, the non-fiction addiction story Beautiful Boy.
"The truth is, it's been amazing and yet, it's not topsy-turvy," Chalamet tells TimeOut. "I'm very grateful that I grew up in New York, my mom was an actress, my grandfather's a screenwriter. If I want to go out unbothered, go out on the street and get a bagel or something, it's not that thing sometimes you hear in interviews with other actors where it's really topsy-turvy. It was good to work on this project right away."
Chalamet stars as Nic Sheff, the eldest son of writer David (Steve Carell), a loving and supportive father who struggles in the face of Nic's unrelenting addiction issues. The film is based on memoirs by both David and Nic Sheff (Beautiful Boy and Tweak, respectively), and seeks to move beyond traditional cinematic depictions of squalid drug addiction.
During the same interview, Carell stresses to TimeOut that he doesn't want the film to be presented as educational, but admits that it did expand his thinking on addiction.
"What did I learn? I guess that addiction doesn't discriminate," Carell tells TimeOut. "It doesn't discriminate against families that seem functional. It can happen to anyone at any time. I knew that stuff going in but this just drove all of those points a bit further home."
Carell and Chalamet portray a genuine filial bond in the film, which they share off-screen as well. So just how did they develop that bond?
"Karaoke," jokes Carell. "We never did karaoke. We got along instantly. He's a great guy. It's impossible to not like him. He is smart, and he's funny and he's talented, but more importantly, a gracious and kind person. We clicked instantly."
"I just get wonderfully soothing parent vibes from him," Chalamet says of Carell.
"I don't even think I give my own kids soothing parent vibes," adds Carell.
Carell says that playing the parent of a drug addict gave him pause.
"It's terrifying, says the former Office star. "It's the most terrifying scenario a parent could go through. The thought of a child in jeopardy is scary enough in and of itself, but a child in jeopardy and having absolutely no recourse, having nothing, no ability to change the trajectory of their life, that to me is the absolute worst."
Chalamet also took some personal stock from the film.
"I don't wanna use the word 'gift', but that's what felt like, the honour of telling the story, because so many people are affected by this, these days. And certainly like, friends of mine, but also just more generally, [people] across the country are affected."
Both actors spent time with their real-life counterparts prior to shooting.
"I didn't want David to feel like I was doing research on him while I was talking to him, says Carell. "I only wanted to get a sense of the type of man he is. It aligned perfectly with what I imagined him to be from the book, he's an incredibly kind and generous smart and very soulful person."
"I felt this huge generosity of spirit [from Nic] and this understanding by the laws of reality that Steve and I couldn't do it exactly as they would've lived it," says Chalamet.
"That was a huge relief, because I'd heard stories from other actors that have played people that are living and real, and that can swing a different way."
With Beautiful Boy generating even more Oscar buzz for Chalamet, the young actor isn't resting on his laurels.
"When I look at the roadmap of the actors I really like, it seems the trick is directors, and just trying to work with the best people you can work with. I'm gonna start Little Women now with [Lady Bird director] Greta Gerwig, and then I'm gonna do Dune with Denis Villeneuve. And in that regard, those are dreams come true."
Who: Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell
What: Beautiful Boy
When: In cinemas next Thursday