Timothée Chalamet says, despite his global stardom at 26, he’s an old soul.
The young star spoke with British Vogue for its October cover story about what crashing headfirst into superstardom in his 20s was like and the way time has changed his mindset.
Reflecting on his newfound fame in recent years, he admitted it was a hard subject for him to discuss.
“I hate talking about this kind of stuff, but like the pressure of, you know, being in the public eye, whatever the f**k that means,” he explained. “It’s always like, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Do you know who you are?’”
It wasn’t as though his career blowing up wasn’t something Chalamet hoped for, especially as a wide-eyed teenager entering the world of entertainment.
“I had a delusional dream in my early teenage years to have, in my late teenage years, an acting career,” he recalled. “And in my late teenage years, working on ‘Homeland’ and starting to do theatre in New York, I felt like I reduced my goal to something more realistic, which was to work in theatre and hopefully make enough money doing either a TV show or something I could sustain myself [with]. And then it felt like every dream came true, exponentially. And then life is moving at six million miles per hour.”
Chalamet, who took the honour of being the first solo male cover star to grace the cover of the magazine, had an impressive resume at the age of 26. He earned an Oscar nomination for his breakout role in “Call Me By Your Name”, landed the lead role in the beloved sci-fi franchise “Dune”, and is set to take a turn as the iconic chocolatier in “Wonka”.
The breakneck speed at which his career took off was halted when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I found myself having to really, you know, be honest with myself that where I’ve been able to get myself to in life was balls to the wall, like throwing everything at [it] at a young age that, by some miracle, got me to where I am. But to then transition to an adulting mindset….”
He laughed, “I’ve always paid my taxes, I always went to the dentist, but I’m suddenly very aware of that.”
“So the ways I feel older than 26 I have always felt,” he said. “It’s not like I feel like I’ve had some mental breakthrough that has given me perspective. The perspective that feels ‘old man’, I feel like I was born with it. The empath thing, the thinking for everyone in the room, the sort of misplaced idea, this sort of illusion, of control based on trying to feel for everyone.”
One thing Chalamet was adamant about was not “selling out” as he gained popularity.
“When [success] came my way, I felt very particular that I didn’t want people and I really didn’t want to see myself cashing in,” he said when asked about why he hasn’t done a fashion campaign.
As for his next role as Willy Wonka in the Paul King-directed movie-musical “Wonka”, the 26-year-old was happy to explore outside of his comfort zone.
“I hate to say it, but the dream as an artist is to throw whatever the f**k you want at the wall, you know?
“And I guess what I’m realizing is that one’s personal life, one’s adult life, can be quite boring and the artist’s life can still be extraordinary.”
See the full feature in the October issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands from Sept. 20.