All Hail Timothée Chalamet and His Artistic Coronation

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Since his 2017 breakout in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet has barely stopped for breath, and has left his fans short of breath with every red carpet appearance.

Chalamet Admirer-in-Chief, Ella Kemp, charts the rise of the Beautiful Boy who would be King.

The first Instagram post published by @chalametart was on 9 April 2018. In it a shot from Timothée Chalamet’s cover story photoshoot for Shortlist stands next to the 1924 painting ‘Pink Blouse’ by Henri Matisse. Both subjects sit upright, and demand praise from the viewer looking in.

Timothee Chalamet & Art is one of many platforms of its kind, finding parallels between contemporary photographs of the 23-year-old actor and seminal works of art. In the gaze, in the angles, in the colouring – when there’s a will, there’s a historic painting begging to be dragged and dropped next to a picture of the boy the world can’t stop looking at.

Fan art has been a widespread practice for decades, but the tributes emerging to honour Chalamet have developed their own robust identity. Is Chalamet’s bone structure so unique as to somehow be the first of its kind? What magnetic force has the actor achieved to lure in so many art history nuts as well as voracious film fans? However the relationship between fresh star and timeless art came to be, it seems somebody behind the camera in Hollywood was listening. This is no longer an incidental story of coincidences and forced similarities: With David Michôd’s The King now in cinemas and soon on Netflix, appreciators of Chalamet’s aura can collect their rewards. The film offers wish fulfilment at its finest, beauty served on a regal platter.

The King

The King

As the 15th-century king Henry V, the actor finally submits to his fans’ wishes by actively incarnating his own walking, talking, fighting version of the antiquated figure so many have orchestrated him to be, in settings that never made sense – but with Photoshop, they somehow could. But now this is sharp, powerful, roving fan service at its finest.

In the lifetime B.TK. (Before The King), Renoir paintings find their counterparts in scenes of post-coital confession between Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird, and a hazy mid-afternoon doze between Elio and Oliver from Call Me By Your Name.

These are snatched pictures of beauty, fragmented moments frozen in order to become part of a broader cross-pollinated conversation on the way we remember good-looking culture. As Chalamet finds himself in distress in the painful addiction memoir Beautiful Boy, a frame so gaunt demands a counterpart by Egon Schiele.

Where The King differs is by gifting Chalamet with his own relic to remould and reperform in his own terms, in motion. Paintings of the young king trace the profile of a slim frame, a slanted nose. Fragile hands carrying rings. But Chalamet honours his fans’ imagination by giving Hal the hostility and truculent mystique that so often creates a fascinating sense of attraction, precisely because of its elusiveness. With a natural physical disposition such as his, the leap to trace a perfectly geometric reproduction of his character doesn’t need to be orchestrated. It arrives fully formed.

Henry V

Henry V

The King

The King

The way David Michôd directs his star seems to be aware of this. The King is a very ambitious, very solemn historical epic that strives to amplify the drama of the era and honour such deeply theatrical stakes. But it also lingers – you lose count of the number of slow, still shots of Chalamet’s face. Nothing else, just his face. He stares, resentfully. His eyes have a numbness to them, a detached sense of belonging to his own consciousness, one of immobile beauty that can seldom be disturbed. It proves an indulgent approach to filmmaking at times, but one that serves the aesthetic ambitions of the actor’s most fervent supporters in a satisfying and ultimately generous manner.

The crucial Instagram account has continued to work hard since the first images of The King were released, proving how even when it seems the circle has been completed, there’s always more to be done for a curious, besotted community that believes in their star. The creators find parallels between Chalamet’s fictional coronation and that of Pepin; and in his armour, Chalamet sits alongside Millais’ Joan of Arc.

It’s here that the depth of Chalamet’s fandom begins to reveal its multifaceted shades – the actor has spoken about his stance on less traditional performances of masculinity, which has come to the fore in many a red carpet sartorial decision (his attire for the London Film Festival premiere of The King boasted a crystal-encrusted midnight blue hoodie). In the actor’s ongoing campaign to carve a singular space as a screen performer and off-screen influential figure, his physical appearance has brought together spheres of culture old and new in order to celebrate a timeless talent for all to find appreciation in. When it comes to the visual apex, now, The King? With something so fitting, and a beauty so simple – we have no choice but to hail.

David Michôd’s The King plays at Curzon Victoria from Friday 11 October, and in further Curzon cinemas from Friday 18 October