Timothée Chalamet died this afternoon at the age of 59. He was one of the biggest movie stars in the ’20s and ’30s. His career began to die down in the late ’30s after being marred by controversy, addiction, and a rapidly changing cinema landscape. By 2038, he had all but disappeared, replaced by a younger and hungrier crop of hetero-twinks eager to steal his roles but reluctant to even say his name: the indomitable Timothée Chalamet.
The 40’s marked a decade of silence from Chalamet. Even paparazzi sightings were rare. That was, until he reappeared — his boyish good looks now decimated by age and addiction — in 2050’s Best Picture Nomination, Moscow.
His appearance as Vladmir Putin in the teaser trailer for Jonah Hill’s late career opus, Moscow, a four-hour historical film about the horrors of the Russo-American war, drew quite a stir. No doubt the marketing team was aware of the potential hype of a new Chalamet film, as he only appeared at the end of the trailer, lifting his ragged face up towards the camera, the possibility of a smile tugging at the corners of his lips before cutting to black.
Initial reactions to the film’s trailer were mixed. Many were excited to see Timothée back on the big screen, while others considered the film tasteless and exploitative. “Almost a DOZEN Americans died TIMOTHÉE,” said one Washington Post journalist.
However, despite this journalist's objection, it went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time. And although his performance in the film was critically acclaimed and pointed to a potential second wind — the Timothéssance, as social media users dubbed it — this would be his last role¹, as only four years later he would be found dead in a hotel room in Thailand.
In the weeks after his death, hundreds of thousands of tribute posts were made to social media, all with attached images of a younger, more beautiful Timothée than the Timothée reintroduced to the public in Moscow with his thinning hair, sunken eye sockets, and a severe calcium deficiency (most likely caused by his long-time opiate addiction) that left his teeth in a sorry state. His ruined appearance was perfect casting for a disgraced Putin, who spent the majority of the Russo-American War feeding on rats in a bunker writing what some still consider to be the greatest novel in all of Russian literature — although copies of My Struggle Too! are nearly impossible to find in the States...
So instead, timelines were flooded with pictures of Timothée in his earliest and most popular roles: Lady Bird, Call Me by Your Name, and Dune. It appeared that sympathy only belonged to the young and beautiful. Many even gave his failed directorial debut² a critical reassessment, though they ultimately re-arrived at the initial reaction that it was “total dogshit.”
That was until the call-out posts began to overtake the tributes. In the wake of Timothée’s death, internet users were all too happy to remind the public of certain Islamphobic statements he had made in a notorious interview with French author Michel Houllebecq, published in the 2028 fall edition of GQ. (In Chalamet’s subsequent apology he said that despite being only five years old at the time, he had never quite gotten over 9/11.) The five-year age gap between him and his first wife, model Anita Armstrong, was also scrutinized... as one Twitter user put it: “but for real, what do a 35-year-old and a 30-year-old even have in common?” As was the unfortunate video of him tossing a cat by the scruff of its neck at a young PA on-set for the 2030 Wes Anderson film The Spiritual Lives of All Manner of God’s Pets (although the validity of the video was dubious, as there were no real cats on set and only puppets to help stage the real-life actors during animated stop-motion sequences; despite such context, the video was still used to shame those who had posted tributes.) The PA came out publicly after Chalamet’s death, claiming that although the cat wasn’t technically alive, the event was still “traumatizing.”
And so, most people forgot about Timothée, the severity of his misdeeds eclipsing all the goodwill afforded to the newly-dead in record time.
He was born the same day and year as me. December 27th, 1995. I saw him once. It was 2018 and I was a college student in New York City. Call Me By Your Name had just come out and I recognized him instantly. I was walking down 14th Street in the early hours of the morning, returning to my dorm. He was the only other person on the street and was wearing a long, expensive trench coat and these bulky red sneakers. He didn’t seem like a star to me then. He could have been one of my peers in a different life. But as it stands, he died gasping in a hotel room in Thailand. I bought some cheap dumplings and ate them in Union Square Park, the national debt counter ticking up higher and higher still.
¹ - His last true project was the Hideo Kojima project Death Stranding 5, which Kojima made at the impressive age of 91. IGN called it “so fucking gay... in a good way.”
² - His directorial debut was an A24-produced adaption of Sean Thor Conroe’s Fuccboi, which he also starred in as the titular “fuck boy.” It would be his last time in the director’s chair — the humbling experience taught him he was better taking orders from a megaphone, rather than shouting them through it — this shouting made all the worse by his incessant use of garbled AAVE and opiate-babble that left the cast confused and offended. The New York Times called it “so fucking gay. In a bad way.”