Timothée Chalamet: 16 Facts About The Wonka Star

The following article includes brief mentions of sexual assault and child abuse allegations.

While some people might argue that we've been amid a "Keanusance" (Keanu Reeves Renaissance), let's not kid ourselves; It's the age of Timothée Chalamet and everyone knows it. The floppy-haired boy wonder skyrocketed to stardom with his role in 2018's "Call Me By Your Name." While co-star Armie Hammer perfectly portrayed the older Oliver in the Oscar-winning film adaptation – which chronicles the duo's passionate, formative, peach-biting romance over one Italian summer — it was newcomer Chalamet who stole the show as Elio. Chalamet became the youngest actor to be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar in 80 years.

He fireplace-stared himself into a meme, was interviewed by the elusive Frank Ocean, and starred alongside Saoirse Ronan in 2018's "Ladybird." With two solid, differentiating performances in one year — playing a jerky high school kid in Greta Gerwig's equally acclaimed directorial debut — Chalamet became a household name.

Chalamet kept the momentum going, with starring roles in 2019's "Little Women" and the modern adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic novel "Dune." Thanks to his acting chops, distinct look, and affinity for top-notch roles, Chalamet's stock continues to rise (controversial moments notwithstanding). Here's everything you need to know, and maybe even some things you don't, about the actor.

Timothée Chalamet started acting as a kid

As is the case for many actors, "Law & Order" was a stepping stone for Timothée Chalamet. In fact, after appearing in a couple shorts, the iconic show was the actor's very first TV credit in 2009. At the time, the future star was just 13 years old and played murder victim Eric Foley. While Chalamet was a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" a decade later, the titular talk show host played a clip from his episode, leading the actor to quip, "That's really funny you guys pulled that. That was my first acting job ever."

Although the original iteration of "Law & Order" was once a bastion for consistent acting work for folks at all levels, that has since changed with the boom of streaming shows. Chalamet considered his more optimistic view of how the industry has evolved in an interview with IndieWire. "I had a teacher who said that 'Law & Order' was the mothership," he told the outlet. "I raised my hand and asked, 'Why is it the mothership?' And he said, 'Because it's going to keep half of you employed.' That's not the case anymore, so from that perspective, I think that's a good thing."

Chalamet's original career path might seem unexpected

Timothée Chalamet, who began appearing in film and TV roles while in high school, was simultaneously pursuing a different career path: hip-hop. Yup! While attending the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City, the star was rapping under the alias Lil' Timmy Tim.

It's no wonder Chalamet went to dinner with Kid Cudi and was so excited to be interviewed by Frank Ocean. Chalamet — we mean Lil' Timmy Tim — took his school talent show by storm (there's evidence on YouTube!) and filmed a music video under his rap pseudonym for a school project about how much he loved his high school statistics teacher, Mrs. Lawton, that you must see to believe. "I did it with a friend on a green screen in school, and I was gonna Photoshop my teacher's face in, but I got too lazy, so now ... I'm pointing around and there's nothing," he told Graham Norton about the math-based music video in 2019. 

Apparently another student at his school especially liked Chalamet's stylings. While attending LaGuardia, Chalamet reportedly dated pop superstar Madonna's daughter, Lourdes Leon, for a number of years.

His mother was a Broadway actor

It should come as no surprise that the mother of Timothée and Pauline Chalamet is in the arts herself — not to mention her own Broadway dancer mom, and her father, who was a renowned author and screenwriter. Nicole Flender, the Chalamet matriarch, was in shows such as "Fiddler on the Roof," "Hello Dolly," and "My One and Only." Flender even serves as the Equity Principal Councilor for the Eastern Region for Actors Equity.

Speaking with The Guardian in March 2022, the proud mom explained that instilling a love of the arts was something she put forth with her kids. "I took them to see many different plays and musicals when they were growing up, and I think seeing certain performances influenced them," Flender said. "The productions they've seen and even growing up in New York, [have] informed who they are today." The last theater credit listed for Flender was playing Valerie in "A Chorus Line" at Harrah's Lake Tahoe in 1991. Since welcoming her two equally talented kids, she has also become a real estate agent. 

Not at all the stereotypical stage parent, Flender merely supported Timothée and Pauline's foray into acting, adding that ultimately, "I'm happy that they're successful and safe and healthy, and I would feel that way no matter what their profession was."

He was a school mascot

Before he became a Hollywood heartthrob, Timothée Chalamet was just an ordinary kid, who — like other ordinary kids — didn't always get what he wanted. That included the time in middle school when he tried out for the basketball team, didn't get picked, and wound up being the mascot. 

Opening up to W Magazine about his mascoting days in 2018, Chalamet admitted that the outfit was hot, though he was luckily able to remove it during halftime for a break. He then quipped, "I could be a good mascot ... If this whole acting thing doesn't work out, I'll call the Knicks or something — although the Knicks don't have a mascot, so."

We did some digging, and it turns out Chalamet went to Booker T. Washington Middle School in New York City. According to the school's website, the boys' basketball team is the Raiders. So, the Knicks might be out, but perhaps Chalamet has a future with the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders should he ever get tired of the acting game?

He and Ansel Elgort were classmates

It turns out that both Timothée Chalamet and Ansel Elgort attended a high school that's familiar to many other future stars, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, with the two former classmates graduating from a program that has seen the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Awkwafina, Michael Che, and dozens upon dozens of other artists from all modes. Per the school's website, it is one of the foremost programs in the country.

Elgort noted his history with Chalamet in a since-deleted 2017 Instagram post. Featuring a photo of the duo at Madison Square Garden for a New York Knicks game, the caption read (via Vanity Fair): "Laguardia high school pride. It's really crazy, Timmy and I played on the same basketball team, we had the same drama teacher Mr. Shifman, we had the same science teacher Mr. Singh, and then in the same year, both of us are nominated for a f$&king Golden Globe!!! Living the dream sitting courtside at the Knicks game together. Life is crazy."

For his part, Chalamet even told ABC News on the 2018 Oscars red carpet that he wouldn't have been nominated or be an actor at all if it weren't for his mentor, Harry Shifman. These two classmates-turned-showbiz-colleagues are just too much.

You may have seen Chalamet's sister on TV

That's right, the acting bug has been spreading in this family. Timothée Chalamet's older sister, Pauline Chalamet, is also in the business. Her career began during childhood with a small acting role in "One Life to Live" in 1999, and she was cast as a lead role as Kimberly Finkle in HBO's "The Sex Lives of College Girls" over two decades later.

While she made her big screen debut in 2020's "The King of Staten Island" alongside Pete Davidson, it was her work on Mindy Kaling's "Sex Lives" that proved to be Pauline's major breakout role. In addition to acting, Pauline is also a director, writer, and producer. She's also not shy about her activist side either, frequently posting ways to get involved in social issues on social media — like this list of abortion resources following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

In 2021, Pauline told Glamour that stepping into the directorial role happened because she wanted certain kinds of work to be done. When that wasn't happening, she decided to do it herself. "It really came from this desire to try and be in control, which is ultimately an anxiety thing because you don't ever have that much control over anything! I was like, 'Okay, if I have the story in my head, how do I make it?'" she told the outlet.

Chalamet attended Columbia University for a year

That's right, Timothée Chalamet is among another list of celebs (beyond the famous alumni of his high school) who attended Columbia University but didn't complete their studies. Other famous non-graduating alumni of this Ivy League school include Vanessa Carlton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Alicia Keys, and even Alexander Hamilton.

In 2017, Chalamet told his "Interstellar" co-star, Matthew McConaughey in an Interview spread that he tried to give Columbia a go during the 2013-2014 academic year, but the aspiring actor soon realized it wasn't where he needed to be. "I did a year at Columbia, and I just kind of floundered. Maybe it wasn't the right place for me," Chalamet told McConaughey. "Columbia takes a wholehearted academic commitment that I think I have in me, but it was just not where my mind was at the time." He went on to explain, "I'd just left working a month and a half in Canada with my favorite director and you, one of my favorite actors, and had to go back into a structured environment. It was just hard."

Eventually, Chalamet enrolled at New York University's Gallatin program between 2015 and 2016. According to the school's website, this individualized study program is more flexible for students juggling work and classes, but Chalamet still ended up dropping out before graduating to pursue his acting dreams full-time.

Chalamet has dated some big name celebs

In addition to being previously linked with Madonna's daughter, Lourdes Leon, Timothée Chalamet's dating history has continued to be noteworthy. In September 2019, the star made waves when photographed intensely smooching then-girlfriend Lily-Rose Depp (the daughter of actor Johnny Depp) on a boat in Italy. The cringe-worthy photos of the bathing suit-clad lovebirds were far from spared online, with Harper's Bazaar calling it "the best meme on the internet." One Twitter user wrote, "lily-rose depp giving timothee chalamet a straightup dementor's kiss." Eek!

After the two went their separate ways in April 2020 after two years of dating, Chalamet spared no time getting back in the game. According to TMZ, in June 2020, Chalamet was spotted making out with Mexican actor Eiza González in Cabo San Lucas. The actor even supposedly whipped out a guitar to serenade his new flame. The pair, who kept hush about their romance, were later spotted together in Los Angeles the same month. 

Following that short-lived romance, Chalamet reportedly briefly reunited with Lily-Rose Depp in April 2021, but he was allegedly seen packing on the PDA with model Sarah Talabi at Coachella the following year. It was a matter of time before his most high-profile relationship set tongues wagging (details on this later).

He faced backlash for working with Woody Allen

Timothée Chalamet has made some smart movie choices throughout his career, teaming up with industry veterans like Christopher Nolan when the actor had a small part in 2014's "Interstellar." However, the young actor did align with one director that invited backlash: Woody Allen. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, Chalamet's turn in Allen's delayed 2019 film "A Rainy Day in New York" drew much criticism, as Allen faced sexual assault and child abuse allegations of his own. 

But Chalamet did not take the backlash sitting down. Instead, Chalamet donated his "entire salary" from the film to organizations like TIME'S UP, the LGBT Center in New York, and RAINN. "This year has changed the way I see and feel about so many things; it has been a thrilling and, at times, enlightening education," Chalamet wrote on Instagram. "I have, to this point, chosen projects from the perspective of a young actor trying to walk in the footsteps of more seasoned actors I admire. But I am learning that a good role isn't the only criteria for accepting a job." 

It's also worth mentioning another surprising role that Chalamet didn't get. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor tried out for the role of Marvel's Spider-Man, which ultimately went to Tom Holland. "I read twice and I left sweating in a total panic," he told THR in 2018.

He's close with Saoirse Ronan and Zendaya

Despite the dating rumors that have plagued them, Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet were never an item. The two "Lady Bird" and "Little Women" co-stars are simply good friends — though Ronan holds Chalamet in high regard. During a 2020 Zoom interview between "Ammonite" writer Anne T. Donahue and Ronan during the Toronto International Film Festival, the actor opened up about working with Chalamet on Greta Gerwig's celebrated freshman and sophomore efforts. "I always knew he was very special," she told Donahue (via Dazed). "And he was very magnetic as an actor. We've always just felt very comfortable with one another."

For his part, Chalamet told Entertainment Weekly in 2019, "It's so rare with Saoirse — I'm so f***ing grateful to get to work with her." Another co-star who Chalamet has stayed close with is Zendaya, with whom he traveled the world with while filming "Dune." In fact, Chalamet even tweeted a sweet birthday message to his pal in September 2020: "happy birthday to one of the most inspiring people I've met on my short journey. Someone with the strongest ethical character, and a moral compass that is in harmony with a totally fearless creative abandon. happy birthday @Zendaya, hope your day is beautiful, friend." Zendaya and Chalamet even did BuzzFeed's BFF Test in 2021. Can we just agree that both of these friendships are equally adorable and envy-worthy?

This actor speaks French fluently

Timothée Chalamet is a multi-language speaking performer. He speaks French fluently (you can even see a French language coach react to his language skills) because his father is French. Chalamet's family would summer in France when he was a child, so it's not surprising that he learned the language. And while he's known to even hold his own on French talk shows, French isn't the only foreign language that Chalamet speaks — the actor also managed to learn some Italian for his role in "Call Me By Your Name."

In 2017, Chalamet told Newsweek, "I went to Italy about a month and a half early for the film, taking Italian lessons every day in addition to piano and guitar lessons, so I could be somewhat in the range of ability of the character and the way he's described in André Aciman's novel." The star went on to explain to the outlet that he tried his best to truly understand multiple aspects of the language as he was learning it, including grammar, and was ultimately happy with the results in the film. However, he would admittedly go easier on himself if he had to do it again, noting, "I would maybe just do it phonetically."

Timothee Chalamet loves watching The Office

When Timothée Chalamet was cast in "Beautiful Boy," he wasn't just excited about snagging a coveted dramatic role. He was also ecstatic about working alongside Steve Carell. Why? Because Chalamet is admittedly deep in "The Office" fandom. "I think I didn't want to scare Steve away," Chalamet told IndieWire in 2018, before going on to reflect, "I'd get on my soccer beanbag chair, and [my dad would] lie down next to me, and we'd put on 'The Office,' and we'd watch like three, four episodes in a row, and not hit the skip theme song in the beginning, and watch it each time."

IndieWire noted that a fellow alum of "The Office," Amy Ryan, also appeared in the film alongside Carell and Chalamet — an onscreen reunion that made the whole deal even better for the rising star. Chalamet gushed to People about the experience of working through his inner fanboy and connecting with these folks on a professional level. Can you blame him? He essentially got to play the son of Michael Scott and Holly Flax — we wouldn't get over that in a hurry either!

Chalamet is Jewish

Dubbed the "Jewish Raya," the exclusive Lox Club dating app has been somewhat jokingly described by its creators as being made "for Jews with ridiculously high standards," per Vogue. In March 2022, celeb gossiper Deuxmoi (via the Independent) alleged on Instagram that one Timothée Chalamet had been seen on the members-only app more than once. 

While there has been no word on who the actor may have matched with, Chalamet's religious background has been a topic of interest for fans ever since his breakout gig in 2018's "Call Me By Your Name." Salon even applauded the actor for taking up the mantle for other Jewish stars to play more non-demeaning onscreen parts, noting, "The role is one of particular importance to modern Jewry. Running parallel to his revelation of queerness, Elio struggles to find a comfortable existence within his Jewish identity." Of the movie itself, the writer added, "Such an accessible, yet unabashedly Jewish film earning momentous fanfare undoubtedly helped legitimize the restoration of the Cool Jew."

Chalamet said his Jewish background implicitly impacted his character, even though he didn't intentionally put his religious upbringing front and center. "It wasn't something I could verbalize or understand in a conscious domain, but rather, there's something inexplicable about it that is a driving force in the film," Chalamet told Matt Hoffman of Film School Rejects. "There's something tangible in watching it and doing it."

Chalamet considered the Armie Hammer saga 'disorienting'

In January 2021, disturbing screenshots of messages allegedly sent by Timothée Chalamet's "Call Me by Your Name" co-star Armie Hammer took the internet by storm. The supposed private conversations between the actor and an Instagram user were cannibalistic in nature. "If I wanted to cut off one of your toes and keep it with me in my pocket so I always had a piece of you in my possession?" one of the messages read. The then-anonymous account's allegations were corroborated by Hammer's ex-girlfriend Courtney Vucekovich, who told Page Six, "He said to me he wants to break my rib and barbecue and eat it."

When the reports surfaced, Chalamet was working on the 2022 release "Bones and All," in which he coincidentally plays a man-eater. When asked about the chain of events in a GQ interview, he said, "I don't know ... These things end up getting clickbaited so intensely. Disorienting is a good word."

In a February 2023 conversation with Air Mail, Hammer attributed his interest in BDSM to a year-long sexual violation that occurred in his childhood. Per the actor, he was molested by a youth pastor and thereafter developed controlling tendencies to curb the helplessness he felt at the time.

His relationship with Kylie Jenner contradicts his desire for privacy

In early April 2023, the internet was sent into a frenzy following reports that Timothée Chalamet and "The Kardashians" star Kylie Jenner were an item. Later that month, Jenner's Ranger Rover was pictured at Chalamet's Beverly Hills residence, seemingly confirming the speculation. The duo further fueled dating rumors when they reportedly had a private taco date. In June 2023, the Kylie Cosmetics founder was snapped yet again at Chalamet's mansion, and three months later, the then-supposed couple attended the US Open together. In September 2023, Jenner and the "Beautiful Boy" actor were spotted getting cozy in each other's arms and kissing at Beyoncé's "Renaissance" tour stop in Los Angeles. Days afterward, Chalamet and Jenner graced French fashion guru Haider Ackermann and Augustinus Bader's dinner.

Despite the hype surrounding their relationship, Chalamet maintains that he still desires privacy. It justifies why the pair has remained tight-lipped, all while contradicting their desire to live low-key. "This reminds me of that recent 'South Park' episode with the Worldwide Privacy Tour," the actor told GQ. The episode in question references Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's demand for privacy while ironically appearing around the world to promote the message. "Sometimes, people are going to be hella confused when you say you're trying to live a private life," Chalamet added.

Wonka was his most physically challenging film

In December 2023, Timothée Chalamet starring role in "Wonka," a Paul King-directed musical that traces the beginnings of the "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" character, was released in theaters. From an audience viewpoint, several scenes are action-packed; huge dance sequences with lots of accessories, flying and spinning, you name it! 

According to a conversation Chalamet had with Vanity Fair, the role was just as physically grueling as it looked and it took much time to master despite having a dancing background. The flick's production brought their A-game to rehearsal, and the training was a notch higher than the musical theater settings Chalamet had been accustomed to while growing up. "It's different doing it on film. You've got to keep being in the center of the frame while dancing, you've got to rehearse for months," he explained to the publication. "You've got to be on for every take — take 12 and all the other takes — and dance with professional dancers, who are icing their ankles. That's how serious they were taking it. So it was a big challenge."

Which part was the hardest for the seasoned actor? In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Chalamet revealed that rhythmically descending the stairs while giving a tribute to the OG Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder, was a more herculean task than it appeared. "That's way harder than it looks!" he recounted.

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