The incredibly beautiful, lush and sensual film Call Me By Your Name deals with basic human experience: the desire and flush of first love.

Based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman, the film by Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) is set in the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy. Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old young man, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel).

Elio also enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar). One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24 year-old American college graduate student working on his doctorate, arrives to assist Elio’s father – and awakens desire in the teen. Over the course of the summer, Elio and Oliver fall into a passionate love that eventually alters their lives forever.

At the recent press day, Armie Hammer discussed his feelings about the eloquent and gorgeous material, his character and more!

On the passion and Oliver’s signature dismissive farewell:

Armie Hammer: It’s not said out of confidence like, “Well, I’m done with this conversation so I’ll see you later.” It’s much more to do with, “Whatever is going on inside of me and whatever is going on here makes me really uncomfortable. I’ve got to get out of here, so I’m out. Later.” Oliver can’t acknowledge or deal, and it just percolates and percolates and percolates. You might be able to bury something like that inside of you, but you’re actually just burying a seed and it’s going to grow. That’s what happens, and it’s a wonderful progression of watching two human beings become more and more enthralled with each other, and finally feeling comfortable enough to open themselves up completely and say, “This is actually who I am,” and then having that emotion received and then reciprocated is such a wonderful thing that we all want, or have been lucky enough to experience and remember.

That’s why this movie connects with so many people, because regardless of your orientation or identification, you’ve felt those feelings before, of being totally incapacitated by this feeling of want and desire for another person, and then having that come to fruition and then maybe having it go away. Those are base human emotions that everybody’s dealt with, and that’s why a lot of people are connecting with the movie. That’s one of the masterful things that [director] Luca [Guadagnino] did.

On what he took away from his character:

Hammer: There’s a lot that I learned and there’s a lot to learn from a character like Oliver, both in the things that he does well and the things that you can look at objectively and say maybe he didn’t handle that as well as he could have, or maybe there was a different way that he would have taken if he was bolder or braver.  He represents that thing in all of us—that duality of being a human. What you want and what you choose to go for are not always the same thing, and that can cause issues. He’s a beautifully complicated character who struggles with a lot of the turmoil and self-doubt that we all do, but he’s very good about covering it. There’s a lot to learn, both good and bad.

On the difference between his bigger budgeted movies and this:

Hammer: There’s one great example that people normally go to when they say that this movie just lets everything live, and it doesn’t rush anything along. It’s the scene where we’re riding bikes and we ride past the camera down this road, and we just keep riding, and we keep riding, and we keep riding, and you watch these two people who are really enjoying each other and the summer so much as they just disappear into it. If this film was made by a studio or if it was an American production, I think our sense of ADD would kick in and we’d be like, “All right, let them go for five seconds. Now, let’s go to the next shot.” As Luca has said, “everyone is a slave to enjoyment, so no one understands desire.” This movie really just took its time and let it grow and let it live in a way where it feels like you live a summer almost in real time.

On a straight actor playing a gay character:

Hammer: That was Luca’s call. This is his film. I was honored to be asked to do this. It seemed like an amazing challenge as an actor, not playing a character who is gay. I’ve done that before. That wasn’t any sort of hurdle that I had to personally overcome. That wasn’t a thing for me. The challenge that I knew in this movie was that it lived and died between the connection of the two characters. The only thing that this movie propelled itself on was the emotional moments between the characters. If those didn’t ring true and if those didn’t work, then the movie would not work.

It just seemed like a challenge for me as an actor to make myself that emotionally accessible and vulnerable. That was one of the things that I really credit Luca with—the fact that he saw that and was not going to let anybody fake anything. It was all about him dragging and pulling that honesty out of us.

Please go see Call Me By Your Name, in theaters November 24.