The natural ebbs and flows of the entertainment industry often assure that even the most prominent actors will go through brief moments of inactivity. (Unless you’re Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, in which case you drop a relentless, seemingly never-ending stream of movies—and also Ballers.) This cyclical pattern would explain why you’ve probably heard very little of Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet in recent months, aside from his jubilant all-caps tweets celebrating France’s World Cup win.
DESCHAMPS* LLORIS PAVARD VARANE UMTITI HERNANDEZ POGBA KANTÉ MBAPPÉ GRIEZMANN MATUIDI GIROUD— Timothée Chalamet (@RealChalamet) July 15, 2018
The last major release featuring the young star dropped at the end of 2017, and that role was the one that he’s least remembered for: a minor part in the Christian Bale–led Western Hostiles. But fear not, Timmyheads (or Chala-stans, if you prefer), the Chalamet Resurgence of 2018 will soon be upon us. It might not be long before he’s giggling on a late-night couch, expressing irrepressible elation that he’s one of the hottest young actors on the planet.
To kick off his 2018, Chalamet is starring in Hot Summer Nights, a movie that feels like it was first pitched on an A24 fan fiction Tumblr, in which he plays a stoner and drug dealer who falls in love with his business partner’s sister, played by It Follows’ Maika Monroe. (It feels important to share that her character’s name is McKayla Strawberry.)
Unfortunately, what sounds like a delicious premise with two great young actors—and, true to form, it is an A24 movie!—has seen a tepid critical response despite praise for Chalamet’s performance. The film might be best remembered for an alluring clip of Monroe and Chalamet sucking on a lollipop (not a euphemism), which captures the same horny adolescent thrills as Call Me by Your Name. Just replace Armie Hammer with Monroe and a peach with a piece of candy, and set the internet ablaze.
If there’s any apprehension from Chala-stans (sorry, sticking with this one) about the actor being featured in a relative dud, the film comes with a catch. Hot Summer Nights endured an arduous road to a theatrical release; while it premiered last year at South by Southwest, the movie was filmed in the summer of 2015. (This also explains why it might seem jarring that Chalamet looks younger than he does in movies that came out last year. He was.)
Weirdly enough, as director Elijah Bynum told HuffPost, even getting Chalamet to star in the movie was a challenge: He was such an unknown at the time that the project’s financiers were pushing for an actor with more clout. Of course, coming off the heels of Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird, it’s Chalamet teaming up with Monroe that might be the film’s best (and only?) selling point. Hot Summer Nights is available on-demand with DirecTV and will have a limited theatrical release beginning this weekend (though, alternatively, you can just watch the lollipop clip on YouTube).
Thankfully, Chalamet does have a movie coming out later this year that holds much more promise: Beautiful Boy, an Amazon Studios vehicle that should put the actor back on the radar just in time to snag some Oscars love. Just look at this emotional roller coaster of a trailer:
Based on a pair of memoirs from real-life father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy sees Chalamet and prestige-leaning Steve Carell playing off one another. Chalamet, playing Nic, toils with a meth addiction, devastating not only Carell’s David, but anyone with a modicum of empathy. If nothing else, Beautiful Boy looks like a tearjerker, starring a beautiful boy.
Amazon Studios definitely knows it has a potential Oscars contender in the making. Beautiful Boy is going to have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September—a preeminent destination for would-be Oscars winners, with past TIFF standouts including La La Land, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The King’s Speech, and American Beauty. It will follow that with an October 12 release in the United States, right at the beginning of the awards-season window.
We can’t infer too much from a trailer, but, like, damn, these feelings. The way Chalamet falls apart in the diner with his dad! All the Carell-Chalamet crying! This is exactly what it was like when the slow cooker started a fire on This Is Us!
However, Chalamet doesn’t appear content to capture just indie hearts; he’ll be starring in blockbusters, as well. First, there’s The King, slated to drop sometime in 2019, which will see the actor portray King Henry V. Joel Edgerton, who cowrote the script with director David Michod, likened the movie to “Game of Thrones meets Shakespeare.” Also, Robert Pattinson is costarring as the French Dauphin, fresh off the heels of Good Time, one of the best non-Chalamet movies of 2017. To all of this, I say: hell yes.
Even more intriguing is what Chalamet might have brewing with Denis Villeneuve. The actor is in final negotiations to star in the director’s take on Frank Herbert’s Dune series. The remake should be a fascinating synthesis of art and artist. Dune is a notoriously difficult work to adapt—granted, the fact my surrealist king David Lynch directed the last cinematic attempt that epically flopped might partially explain why it didn’t translate well on screen—but Villeneuve, between Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, is on a sci-fi hot streak.
A project with this kind of ambition needs a star to match it: Lynch had a young Kyle MacLachlan as protagonist Paul Atreides, and Villeneuve could have Chalamet for the same role. If there’s any director working today that can handle Herbert’s work, Villeneuve could be the best bet. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a sterling Oscar nominee who’s riding a wave of hype like early-aughts Leonardo DiCaprio along for the ride.
While the Chalamet news cycle has laid dormant for most of 2018, it’s only a matter of time before he’s hitting the big screen and making Jimmy Fallon chortle and clap like a seal. It’s not so much a Chalamaissance as the next peak in his young career. Still, this brief Chalastasis isn’t fun for anyone. In the time between now and Beautiful Boy’s October release, I don’t think anyone would mind him having a rendezvous with Armie Hammer.