At 89 James Ivory Proves There Is A First Time For Everything His Screenplay ‘Call Me By Your Name’

James Ivory was a talent and I knew I wanted to back his films a means of redeeming my soul having made a small fortune working for an arms dealer and so I had penned a deal that was signed by James Ivory and myself at the St. James’s Club in London. 


Soon after signing the deal at the Festival of Festivals ( now known as Toronto International Film Festival ), I would walk into the Four Seasons Hotel and go up the hotel suite occupied by David Putnam who would tell me, “Tim I would bring you into Colombia Pictures with this deal but they are probably firing me as we speak” .   The studio fired Putnam that week.  However Putnam did impart to me  the importance of making quality films rather than blockbusters, quality with always stand the test of time he told me.


James Ivory has never in his life written a screenplay that he has not directed until now with “Call Me By Your Name” a movie of coming of age love which transcends mere words, with two revelatiory performances  with a Golden Globe and SAG Awards nomination for Timothée Chalamet as Elio.

For me working with Ivory was such a calm time as opposed to the man he would later marry Ismail Merchant.  During the time of the editing of the film “Maurice” after a screening Ismail Merchant walked into the offices on Broadway and started going off on Ivory, “You just must cut that scene people are snickering and it is distracting you from the film itself”.  The scene Merchant was referring to was when James Wilby and Hugh Hudson jump into bed together.  Ivory during this long-winded dressing down by Merchant remained calm as cool hand Luke and said nothing.  I would later show the film in Toronto and the scene remained in the film.

Ivory always thought that Americans have such a hang-up seeing naked men and in his screenplay “Call Me By Your Name”, there is a lot of nudity but both the actors in the film had it in their contracts , ‘no frontal nudity’, something Ivory has trouble understanding since no one cares about women frontal nudity so why men.



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