Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All tells the love story of Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Timothée Chalamet), two people who meet while living on the margins of society, both in search of identity.
Set in the ‘80s, the pair (who both have cannibalistic compulsions) travel across America as their bond grows, and it’s a coming-of-age story that’s tender, horrific, and completely mesmerising.
So we sat down with Taylor and Timothée to discuss Bones and All – from the '80s music to their time on set, and everything in between.
Nice To meet you both! Taylor, what was the best part about working with Luca – was it what you expected when you signed up?
Taylor: It definitely wasn't what I expected! I don't know what I expected. I mean, I felt from the beginning that he really wanted me there and made me feel like I was valued in this world, in this crew, as did Timmy. But there's no way to prepare for a Luca set, in that he's so spontaneous – you never know what's going to happen!
Sometimes you think, “okay, this is a really big scene” and then he ends up filming it so simply and so beautifully and effortlessly. And then other times, you just can't really prepare. Which is great, because you get challenged a lot.
And Timothée, how was it coming into the film as an actor and a first-time producer?
Timothée: It was an honour; not using that word facetiously –it's something I hadn't done before, and it's something I felt legitimate in doing because Luca, Dave (Kajganich), and I collaborated on the script so much. It felt like Luca, who took me under his wing in Italy five years ago, taking me under a different wing of his, and it was just a thrill and something I hope I get to do again! But the dream is really in front of the camera with Luca.
The film’s soundtrack is already iconic, so I had to find out what was on their playlists while they were filming...
Did you read any of the books that Maren read on screen?
Taylor: Yeah, I read one by Marianne Williamson, but I don’t remember the name! Dave gave it to me, and I think it's what Maren was reading in the book, but it wasn't what she was reading in the script.
You both do a great job of pulling us into Maren and Lee's World. How did you guys work to build chemistry together?
Timothée: I think time spent together naturally. We basically shot in chronological order – my first scene with Maren was the first thing you see in the movie, and my last scene with Maren is the last one you see. A benefit of doing on-the-road movies is that you have your crew, your director, producers, and your actors to hang out with.
And also, I don’t want to sound pretentious, but the word in French is méfiant – like Lee's feelings about Maren are a little suspicious, and he's not so sure that that's a way out of what he's feeling.
So after filming the really heavy scenes, what kind of things did you do to lighten the mood?
Taylor: We just listened to music...
Timothée: Yeah we listened to a lot of music, we went to a waffle house...
Taylor: Oh, we went to a monster truck rally.
Timothée: That was interesting.
Did you get recognised?
Timothée: Not there!
Your performances with Mark Rylance and Chloë Sevigny were so captivating. How did you find filming those scenes with them?
Taylor: Well, the scenes with Chloë are really cool because that was the last stuff we shot. And I don't know if the building was actually haunted, but I remember it feeling very haunted...
Timothée: Was that the hospital?
Taylor: Yeah, but I think the actual building was like an elementary school or something. And there were all these stories on set that all these tragedies that happened there, so I was going around trying to mitigate the energy somehow, I don't know what I was doing! But it ended up really working because it felt really strange, and she brought it so heavily in that scene – it just felt so intense. I was really glad because even though we didn't shoot that part chronologically, things kind of ended up working out.
And Timmy, you’re not in many scenes with the other cast members – did you get to spend much time with them on set
Timothée: Not really no, I met Chloë in Venice for the first time! And I didn't get to see André (Holland) on set, but that's an actor I've been admiring for years since Moonlight. And seriously, we have like a Mount Rushmore of amazing actors on this one; between Taylor, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Chloë, André, and Jake Horowitz, who I think is great in the movie. So this is a treat as far as working with great people.