Karamo Brown thinks ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is problematic

Karamo Brown thinks ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is problematic

Karamo Brown has revealed in a new interview that he thinks Call Me By Your Name is “problematic as fuck.”

“I’ve worked with many survivors of sexual assault, especially in the LGBTQ community, which oftentimes goes unreported,” the Queer Eye star tells Insider. “And so the minute I saw that movie, I thought, ‘Here we are glorifying this sort of relationship.’”

For starters, this psychotherapist takes issue with the age gap between the two main characters, which may have been exaggerated by the casting.

“I know we’re calling [Oliver] a college student, but it looks like a grown man having sex with a little boy,” he added. “And for me, I just was not OK with that. And I was like, ‘Why are we pretending like this is OK in any sense, fashion, or form?’”

(For the record, actors Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer were 20 and 29 when principal photography began in May 2016.)

Brown does acknowledge that Oliver is only 24 in the movie and in the 2007 André Aciman novel on which it is based. “And so the relationship between him and this 17-year-old boy, I guess it ‘makes more sense,’ and I’m doing air quotations there,” he says. “But there is predatory behavior there that I see, especially in the movie, where Armie Hammer looks dramatically older than this young man.”

He continues: “If that was an older man or a perceived college student who looked that much older with a 16 or 17-year-old girl, we would have all had a hissy fit. We would have recognized that this is a problem. But for some reason, because it was two men, we’re just like, ‘Oh, well, this is just exploration.’”

Brown also takes issue with how the movie focuses on two white, gay, male characters played by straight actors.

“I’m tired of this continued narrative of pretty white boys as the only representation of the LGBT community,” he explains. “Every movie is like, ‘Look! I’m a pretty white boy and my life is hard but maybe it’ll get better!’”

He would have preferred to see the film revolve around a young lesbian romance or one involving a young trans man. At the very least, he points out, the filmmakers could have cast gay actors: “There are so many talented — and popular — gay celebrities. Why not pop one of them in there?”

The 38-year-old is citing a major representation problem in Hollywood: Straight actors often play gay characters, and cisgender actors are often cast in trans roles, but the converse of either hardly ever happens.

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7 Comments

  1. Bain
    December 16, 04:55 Reply

    I agree with him to a large extent. I strongly disliked this movie.

    But…

    The movie is about two gay white men. (full stop) There are romance movies about two gay black men. Lesbians and Trans people too. Wtf. Romance Movies are largely free to be about whoever. That isn’t even an issue to have. How is it even problematic? Why can’t white gay males have their romance stories told as many times as they like?

    On Straight actors playing Gay roles. Please shut it. Its a fucking movie. Its fucking acting. Gay actors play straight roles all the fucking, even though it was because there WEREN’T any gay roles then but now? there are tonnes. If straight people want to play gay roles they fucking can and they should in my opinion. If a bat wants to play an owl in a fucking movie it fucking can! Stop making it a problem. If a gay actor isn’t getting any roles in movies, He should ask other gay actors that do how they do it, I’m pretty sure the answer would be “We Do a little thing called acting”.

    • Mandy
      December 16, 05:54 Reply

      I agree with most of your comments but that last bit. You’re implying that the LGBT actors who don’t get enough or good straight roles don’t know how to act. And that’s just wrong. There are only a handful of LGBT actors who have a handle on crisscrossing between straight and LGBT roles, the Matt Bomers and Neil Patrick Harrises and Luke Evans of Hollywood.
      But there still remains a problem with Hollywood casting gay actors who are out in roles that’s not about stereotyping them based on their sexuality… That is, when they even get the roles at all.
      This is a conversation that’s being had and shared many times by Hollywood actors. Your dismissiveness shows you’re either not paying attention to it or you just know nothing about it.

    • Patrick
      December 16, 19:13 Reply

      I disagree strongly with your last paragraph. How many straight sex scenes do you know that has featured a gay actor? Next to none?You know why? Because producers think audiences won’t like it. So LGBT people have a right to ask that gay actors be cast in gay roles.

      It’s annoying how straight actors are praised for pulling off a gay sex scene when there are loads of gay people who can play the role. So Armie Hammer was reportedly scared before shooting the movie. I find that demeaning.

      Thanks Mandy

  2. Mandy
    December 16, 05:46 Reply

    Karamo Brown is being way too sensitive abeg. I for one loved the movie. It is a love story between a 24 year old and a 17 year old, in a culture where 17 years of age is seen as an adult. So there’s no pedophilic connotation here. I hardly think we’d have any problem with a 24 year old guy and a 17 year old girl, either. So he can rest with that hysteric comparison.
    Why many people keep getting hung up on the age difference is because of how remarkably older Armie Hammer looks than Timothee Chalamet. Get past that and you’ll be fine.
    And honestly, miss me with that pretty white boy kvetching. The story is about two white guys for chrissakes. If there was a black character In the book that the movie turned white, then it’d be an issue. Or if the book turned a lesbian story gay, then yes, we’ll cry wolf. The story is about two white guys and that deserves to be told.

    The only thing I agree with him is about straight actors playing gay roles, and not because I think straight actors shouldn’t play gay roles, but because comparatively, Hollywood has a hard time casting as much LGBT actors in straight roles as they cast straight actors in LGBT roles.

  3. Bee
    December 16, 07:26 Reply

    I didn’t have any problem with the age gap. They met in the middle of nowhere, literally. Elio had no gay friends. Oliver had no gay friends. Ffs, stop over-scrutinizing.

  4. Omiete
    December 16, 13:37 Reply

    I totally get him. I am a fem actor and it’s so hard to get a role because I am not macho enough. So it’s kind of upsetting when the straight actors are now playing gay roles when there are a lot of gay actors. Plus we didn’t grow up in a white america so we won’t understand him when he talks about two white lovers, why do we think people were excited about black panther it’s simply because it is amazing to see black people at the center!!! #Thisismyopinion

  5. Delle
    December 16, 20:45 Reply

    I’m not going to lie but finding out that both actors are straight in real life took away the authenticity of the on-screen romance for me.

    Yeah, it’s acting but I’ll rather see (more) LGBT actors tell their own stories. Not like they do not exist.

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