Luca Guadagnino talks Bones & All: "I don’t think the subject matter is cannibalism"

"I thought of Taylor because I’d seen her incredible performance in Trey Shults’ Waves, and I asked to talk to her," Luca Guadagnino remembers. The Call Me By Your Name director's talking to Total Film about Bones & All, his latest feature starring Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet, in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Enola Holmes 2 on the cover.

"During the call," he continues, "I found out about this beautiful person that is Taylor, and her cunning intelligence. And then after a few days, I called her back, and I said, ‘If you want the role, it’s yours.’ I knew that both people were going to be fantastic on screen together. As long as I am intuitive and I know things like that, I feel that I will be able to perform as a filmmaker. The second I realize that my instincts are not, anymore, strong, then I will retire.”

Bones & All

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Thankfully, we're still some way off Guadagnino calling it quits: Bones & All has won rave reviews, with Russell and Chalamet being acclaimed for their performances as two cannibals who fall in love. Originally a YA novel by Camille DeAngelis, what’s described on the page when translated to celluloid can be gory, grubby, and potentially off-putting, as the two crouch bloodily over bodies – ripping, gnawing flesh. It seems a world away from the sun-dappled Italian countryside, torrid romance, and dreamy visuals of Call Me By Your Name. Not so, says the filmmaker.

"Call Me By Your Name has been, for me, very much about the transmission of knowledge. As much as it is about the ‘being born of desire’ in Elio," Guadagnino says. "Elio learns from people. He learns from the father, he learns from the mother. And in this case, I think it’s about the impossibility of the transmission of knowledge within the parameters of such a violent life, and the kind of brutality of the disenfranchised of the Reagan era. I don’t think the subject matter is cannibalism, honestly. It’s loneliness, abandonment, being different, looking for companionship, being left behind. Those were the dynamics I was interested in. I am not there to judge or speculate on something. I am there to tell the story of that person."

You can read more from the team behind Bones & All - which hits UK cinemas on November 23 - in the new issue of Total Film when it hits stands (and digital devices) this Thursday, October 13. The issue also features our in-depth interviews with the Enola Holmes 2 cast, along with a career retrospective with Daniel Radcliffe and features on The Banshees of Inisherin and Bill Nighy's Living.

Total Film's Enola Holmes 2 issue

(Image credit: Netflix/Total Film)

And if you’re a fan of Total Film, why not subscribe so that you never miss an issue? You’ll have it delivered to your door before it’s in shops, you’ll save money on the cover price, and you’ll get exclusive subscriber-only covers. Plus, with the current offer you can get a free pair of EarFun headphones worth £55. Head to MagazinesDirect to find out more (Ts and Cs apply).

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(Image credit: Total Film)
Editor-in-Chief, Total Film

Jane Crowther is the Editor of Total Film magazine and the Editor-in-Chief of the Film Group here at Future Plc, which covers Total Film, SFX, and numerous TV and women's interest brands. Jane is also the vice-chair of The Critics' Circle and a BAFTA member. You'll find Jane on GamesRadar+ exploring the biggest movies in the world and living up to her reputation as one of the most authoritative voices on film in the industry.