Bones and All star Taylor Russell on working with Timothée Chalamet

It was February in Rome, and Taylor Russell sobbed. The actress was overcome with emotion after just exiting a private viewing of her new film. bones and all Luca Guadagnino‘s painful romance about two lonely cannibals (Russell and Timothy Chalamet) bonding in the wild, overgrown fringes of American society. “I was raw,” says Russell, describing her condition after the screening. “You just cut yourself and you’re open, and then you can’t really touch it. I felt that.”

So she found herself alone and crying in the Eternal City, as if she had just fallen from one movie into another. “I laughed at myself afterwards because I was like, ‘Look at this environment! I was just a mess in this beautiful place.”

Russell is laughing about it again now, almost eight months after that first screening. At the time of our conversation, the rising star is in a Manhattan hotel room, in town for the film’s premiere at the New York Film Festival. She wears a black top with a thick collar, a black leather coat by Prada rests next to her. It’s a stylish continuation of their all-black-everything bones and all Press tour aesthetic, which includes a black leather dress, black skirt suit separated by a sharp inhale of a corset, and black coat paired with spiked heels and gelled hair. Russell has cultivated an air of dangerous haughtiness on the red carpet, but in real life the 28-year-old exudes a preternatural calm and gentle bonhomie, and speaks in a soft voice. Her arm is covered with small tattoos – a spider, a snake, a butterfly – all acquired because they represent creativity and transformation, fragility and strength.

The same descriptions can be applied to Maren, her bones and all Character. “She’s a creature,” says Russell sweetly. “A different kind of girl.” In the language of film – written for the screen by David Kajganich, who has adapted Camille DeAngelis‘s book of the same name – Maren is an “eater”, an isolated 18-year-old girl whose cannibalistic desires make it impossible to stay in one place for too long. Russell could identify with it to a degree: Her father was a working actor who moved the family 16 times over the course of his childhood to further his career. This immediately created an emotional connection between Russell and the character. “I’ve moved a lot in my life,” she says vanity fair. “I was always in new surroundings.” She connected to Maren’s sense of outsider introspection, the role of an outsider standing a few steps from the crowd. In this way she plays Maren, immersive and introspective, giving a subtle power to her looks and the quiet moments between the lines.

Russell landed on Guadagnino’s radar after her breakout role in the 2019 drama Waves, Trey Edward Shults‘s intricate family portrait. In it, Russell plays a sensitive little sister who is dealing with a terrible loss. Guadaganino – the high-profile author behind the suspicious make new and call me by your name the romance that brought the public consciousness, Chalamet was so taken with her performance that he arranged to meet her and asked her to read the script for his mysterious upcoming film. After Russell read it, the Oscar-nominated director offered her the role over FaceTime.

“It was the easiest ‘yes’ I’ve ever been on this planet,” says Russell.

She knew Chalamet before she was cast, having met him on a chemistry test for another project a few years ago. “I’m inspired by him as a person,” she says of Chalamet. “His ability and his talent.” Nonetheless, Russell grew nervous when it came time to shoot the film in Ohio. “I was starting to feel like, ‘Oh boy.’ can i do this Am I able to overcome all these challenges? He really supported me there and never wavered. I really trusted what he told me because he had been there [on a Guadagnino set] earlier. That was invaluable. I really mean it when I say I couldn’t have made it without Timmy.”

Chalamet plays Lee, a blackhead with a tousled strawberry mullet and a demure personality hardened by life as an outcast. Maren meets him in a supermarket, and the two are instantly drawn to each other, rebels with the same bloody cause. And it is bloody, with Guadagnino showing his characters biting and tearing at corpses to satisfy their eternal hunger. (At least two people walked out of the packed performance I attended.) What did they really bite into? “Maraschino cherries and dark chocolate and fruit buns,” Russell recalls. However, the wrong body parts they bit into were made of some kind of rubber that had a strong odor and tainted the sweet feast. “You smell the rubber –rough,‘ Russell says, laughing. “It confuses the senses.” Bones and All star Taylor Russell on working with Timothée Chalamet

Charles Jones

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