Timothée Chalamet fever hits Venice as fans go wild: ‘He’s handsome and talented’

It’s Timothée Chalamet Day in Venice.

This isn’t a national holiday, but maybe it should be. It’s only 1:30 p.m. outside the Venice Film Festival’s Sala Casino and a throng of young people have put aside work and school commitments to travel to the Lido to catch a glimpse of the American superstar arriving for a press conference.

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Every generation has its movie star heartthrob — from Jonathan Taylor Thomas to Brad Pitt in the ’90s and Robert Pattison at the dawn of the Twilight movies. For many young women, Chalamet represents the pinnacle of Gen Z cool. Chalamet’s stans arrived as early as 7 a.m. on Friday to take a look at Timothée. Not surprisingly, they are mostly women. They describe their favorite performances as “Call Me By Your Name” and “The King,” but are mostly drawn to Chalamet because of his talent and his kind and friendly nature.

Gaia del Perugia is pressed against a metal barrier with a pen and a piece of white paper in hand. Traveled from Tuscany for the second year in a row to see Chalamet at the festival. Don’t have a ticket to his new movie, “Bones and All”? all she wants is to get a good look at him strutting down the red carpet. He was also here for “Dune” last year, but “too far” to see him in person.

“He’s handsome,” she says. “He’s handsome and talented.”

The 17-year-old begins to detail his films – “‘Call Me By Your Name’ is the most famous film,” he declares – but is suddenly interrupted by a friend who comes over and whispers something urgently in her ear. Her eyes widen as she realizes she’s been placed in completely the wrong place.

“Oh, Timothée’s inside the Casino and we have to go to the other side when he leaves,” she snaps, before the pair rush off.

At sala casino, it’s a conference flag to remember: Chalamet has gone on a rampage against social media.

“To be young now, and to be young whenever — I can only speak for my generation — must be judged strongly,” Chalamet told the assembled reporters.

The 26-year-old stars alongside Taylor Russell as cannibal lovers in “Bones and All,” the new film from Chalamet’s “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino. The film is set in the 1980s, when social media didn’t exist.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up with the onslaught of social media, and it was a relief to play characters who struggle with an inner dilemma [without] being able to go on Reddit, or Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok and figure out where they fit.

“I don’t judge,” Chalamet added. “You can find your tribe there.” But “I think it’s hard to be alive now. I think social collapse is in the air. That’s why we hope this film matters.”

A few floors down, another tribe is gathered, smartphones at the ready. They stand on the pier for hours, hoping that Chalamet can, as he is wont to do, delight fans with autographs, selfies and hugs.

Diana Bianco, nestled in the crowd, plays with a pin on her blouse. “I [heart] CREAM,” he writes, with a peach in place of the heart. Crema is the town in northern Italy, near Milan, where ‘Call My By Your Name’ was filmed. The small village became an overnight sensation after the film’s release, with fans flocking to visit the film’s locations.

“For me, Timothée Chalamet is loved in Italy because he is very young and handsome, but he is always very nice, honest and very attentive to his fans,” says the 47-year-old.

By now, the press conference has been over for 30 minutes, and after 30 minutes, the film’s cast members start pouring in: first Chloe Sevigny, who receives cheers, and then Mark Rylance – one of its greatest actors of his generation – which goes unnoticed except for a single, enthusiastic “Hi Mark!” Meanwhile, a stylish Taylor Russell bides her time posing with fans.

There’s a strong tension in the air as fans wonder how long they’ll realistically have with Chalamet at this point. A young woman admires herself in the Chalamet fronted edition of TIME magazine.

A passer-by comes up behind a group to ask what everyone is waiting for. A girl turns and explains with wild gestures that they are waiting for Chalamet.

“It’s important to understand,” he says solemnly.

“Yes. I understand,” he nods, and wordlessly joins the crowd.

Then a mop of dark curls appears, flanked by security and reps, and the mood changes. Suddenly, everyone is fired up and showing perhaps more restraint than most would expect. There’s no need to scream and thump — at least, not yet: Chalamet goes to each fan and patiently signs autographs and poses for photos.

A young Italian embraces the actor, eyes closed the entire time, as a devout Catholic might embrace the pope.

As Chalamet reaches Bianco, the crowd waves to get his attention and chants “TIMOTHÉE! TIMMY!” Chalamet pops and smiles. “What are your news?” he says, before wrapping himself in an endless series of selfies. As he finally breaks free to board his gondola, the fans scream.

Bianco made eye contact with him, she says, but she’s annoyed he didn’t take a picture of just the two of them. “All the pictures are of a group,” she says, visibly flustered. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

Kate Hanson, a Canadian in town for the festival, managed to get a photo with the actor after waiting three hours. “I feel ridiculous about how much it meant to me. I’m judging myself, but also, it’s really cool.”

Why does she like it so much?

“That’s a really good question that will take weeks to answer and I’ll have to talk to my therapist about it,” says the 20-year-old. After some thought, he adds, “It’s nice to have a Gen Z star who looks really good that we can all look up to.”

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