The Man Repeller editorial team allotted me a slot on January’s publishing calendar, valuable square footage of internet real estate, to speak solely of my love for actor Timothée Chalamet, he of the tousled hair. Surely I can monitor my screen time and eat more greens, but kick my Timothée Chalamet habit? Not during Vices Month.
Timothée Chalamet is a sight for sore eyes, and also any kind of eyes. Remarkably photogenic, Chalamet’s appeal begins with the perfect symmetry of his heart-shaped face: he doesn’t have to engage or contort a single facial muscle in order to look good in a picture. He boasts the stature of a Toblerone bar (which I’ve heard he buys from local Nolita bodegas when he’s in town), a jawline rendered by — it’s rumored —Bernini’s own chisel, carbon copies of Brooke Shields’ eyebrows and the great mess of his Timothée Chalamet Hair™. A Google search reveals that he is 5′ 10″, but like a whisk you buy on Amazon, it is difficult to fully envision his scale relative to you. (Do actors generously round up their heights like college athletes do? Who measured Timothée Chalamet for his IMDB page stats?) More than just a pretty face, he’s articulate and conversational enough to be a talk show host. He’s Gen Z’s answer to Michael Cera.
Chalamet first became widely known after his end-of-2017 double whammy: a heart-wrenching performance in Call Me By Your Name and his snarky, brooding character in Greta Gerwig’s indie darling Lady Bird. Since then, a meteor struck Earth by way of the internet and out burst thousands of Timothée Chalamet fan accounts. Now he’s ubiquitous, his face hovering with Steve Carell’s over the entrance to my subway stop.
The man has provided me with more entertainment in the past year than most public figures do in the span of a career. Exhibit A: his “cover” of Cardi B’s “Bartier Cardi” at the 2018 SAG Awards. Exhibit B: A music video for his high school math class. (Not since Moneyball have I been so interested in “statistics, statistics, statistics.”) Exhibit C: His unbridled reaction as he discovers the real Tonya Harding sitting a few seats away from him at last year’s Golden Globes. Exhibit D: The way he fielded a polite request from Frank Ocean to not quote his own songs back to him over the telephone. Indeed, my once-innocent tendency to follow Timothée’s hijinks has morphed into a bad habit.
What’s it like to be on the receiving end of everyone’s guilty pleasure? Imagine how dystopian it might feel waking up one morning and finding that scores of strangers are in love with you, or that you’re well-known enough to feature in your fans’ subconscious dreams. I often think about the deep well that is the Message Requests section of Chalamet’s Instagram DMs. Does he read them when there’s a long line at Duane Reade?
Observing the way Chalamet interacts with the world around him is like watching a performance in itself. When speaking to Ryan Seacrest at his Golden Globes red carpet interview, Chalamet can’t help but gush: “We’ve never met—but dude, I grew up with you, you were beamed into my living room every… Monday night? For American Idol.” Upon his first visit to Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show, Chalamet relays that he had promised himself he wouldn’t get weird about being there, though he can’t help expressing to Fallon himself that “this is so strange.” Imagine ascending to such celebrity status over the course of an awards season that you become the butt of a New Yorker Daily Shouts comic strip. Strange indeed.
The Wall Street Journal Magazine recently quoted Lucas Hedges as saying “I do think about why there isn’t, like, a River Phoenix or somebody who I experience as being magical and ethereal and culturally historical.” Then he pauses to admit, “I do actually experience that with Timothée.” In the same story, Julia Roberts refers to the Timothéean “floppy hair.” It takes one to know one in the upper echelon of Hollywood, and in this case, an iconic mouth recognizes an iconic mop of hair as an integral ingredient in Timothée’s secret sauce.
While I’m clearly a font of knowledge when it comes to Timothée Hal Chalamet, here are still a few things I wish to know: Which era of his hairstyle makes him feel most himself? What’s his favorite song on the new James Blake album? Will he host SNL soon? Which March sister in Little Women did he relate most to on his first read? Does he think I should buy this Tibi dress (it’s on sale)? Which syllable of his name is his favorite?
While I await these answers, I’ll be counting down the days ‘til post-production starts on The King, Little Women, a remake of Dune, the untitled Call Me By Your Name sequel and, finalement, The French Dispatch — Wes Anderson’s 2020 release about the Paris bureau of a 1950s American newspaper. I guess 2017 habits die hard.
Do you love Timothée more than I do? Tell me how in the comments.
Collage by Edith Young. Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images.