Sufjan Stevens Nearly Narrated Luca Guadagnino's 'Call Me By Your Name'

He was also offered an on-screen role as a bard
Sufjan Stevens Nearly Narrated Luca Guadagnino's 'Call Me By Your Name'
Photo: Joshua Peter Grafstein
Sufjan Stevens contributed a handful of new tracks to the soundtrack of Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name, but as the songwriter revealed in a new interview, he nearly contributed some voiceover work to the film as well.

Speaking with Deadline, Stevens elaborated on how director Guadagnino initially approached him for the project, revealing he had read the novel by André Aciman before the film's script. Guadagnino then asked Stevens if he'd like to work on the film both as a narrator and an on-screen character.

"They had retained the monologue from the older Elio, and [Guadagnino] initially asked me to be the voice of the older Elio; to contribute that voiceover," Stevens explained. "He also asked if I wanted to appear in the movie as a bard, performing the song, almost as a break in the narrative."

"I got back to him and I said, 'I think this voiceover is a mistake, and I think the interruption of me singing the song is a mistake.' I think he was just thinking out loud. I don't know if he was really committed to the idea. So I said, 'I'll write you some songs, but that's all I think you need from me.' And he agreed. When I saw the first edit, he said, 'You were right, this doesn't need a monologue or an interruption.'"

Stevens also noted that he broke his own rule in contributing music to the film's soundtrack. 

"I've always been resistant to work in film," he told Deadline. "I think it's because I'm always a little suspicious of the role of music in cinema. But Luca is an exception, because he's one of those rare directors who uses music and sound so fiercely and with such mastery that you cannot imagine the films without the music."

He continued: "I wrote two new songs for the film, and when I wrote them I hadn't seen any footage, so I wasn't sure how he was going to use them at all. I just handed them over and had to trust that he would know what to do. And, of course, having seen all his films, and how masterful he is with music, there was no question in my mind he would be responsible about it."

You can read Stevens' full interview here. The songwriter also recently shared a new song about Tonya Harding.