Timothée Chalamet: the making of a global superstar

Actor Timothée Chalamet has become a bona fide global superstar, and his stock is set to rise higher over the coming months with the release of the highly anticipated “Wonka” movie in December, as well as the sequel to the sci-fi epic “Dune” in early 2024.

Chalamet portrays a young version of Roald Dahl’s eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka in his “most accessible role yet”, wrote Kristy Puchko at Mashable, a step away from the “prestigious dramas” in which he “made his name”.

Given his breakthrough role in “Call Me By Your Name” came just six years ago, the 27-year-old is still in the infancy of his career as an established actor. Yet in a “swift half-decade”, Chalamet has become both an “art-house stalwart” and a “box-office king”, said Giles Hattersley in British Vogue

But beyond his acting career, Chalamet’s profile has made him “boyfriend to an entire generation” and one of “Hollywood’s most wanted”, added Hattersley. And with that, there is now a “spotlight on everything” he does, wrote Sam Lansky in Time, “from his personal life…to his activism…to what he wears”, making headlines most recently by dating media personality Kylie Jenner.

Who is Timothée Chalamet?

Chalamet was born in New York City in 1995 to his parents Marc Chalamet, a French writer and journalist, and his mother Nicole Flender, a former theatre actor turned real estate agent.

Timothée and his elder sister Pauline grew up in federally subsidised housing for artists in the Hell’s Kitchen district of NYC, where they were “not strangers to hearing their neighbours” practise the arts, wrote Brianna Holt in The Guardian. Both of them as children spoke French as well as English and had “agents and dabbled in acting”, appearing in “occasional commercials and supporting roles in TV shows and movies”.

After attending LaGuardia performing arts school, where Chalamet acted on stage, his debut in movies came in 2014 with a small role in the film “Men, Women & Children” and a part alongside Matthew McConaughey in Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”. The latter was expected to “catalyse his career”, said Lansky, but his breakthrough proper would come later.

After briefly attending Columbia University in New York before dropping out to focus on acting, Chalamet “waited for the kinds of jobs he wanted” rather than take up roles that “might stifle his growth”.

This desire to “get things right” came to fruition when he landed a leading role in “Call Me By Your Name” in 2017, wrote Joshua Rothkopf at Time Out. He received a nomination at the Oscars for Best Actor for that part, and has since been able to appear in “more zeitgeisty hits than movie stars twice his age”.

The rise of ‘Chalamania’

Chalamet has become a “byword for superstardom” in the past few years, said Holt, and his 2017 breakthrough kicked off a fandom craze labelled “Chalamania”. The rise of Chalamania was “akin to the Leomania” that occurred after Leonardo DiCaprio’s appearance in “Titanic” in the 1990s, said Interview Magazine. But for Chalamet, his “path to millennial pin-up was intensely expedited” by the “age of reposts and double-taps”, gaining him an immediate “fervent fan base”.

Chalamet’s trajectory has now taken him well beyond his acting career. In recent years he’s emerged as “somewhat of an icon”, wrote Holt, with Vogue calling him the “most influential man in fashion” and “menswear’s most visible champion”. 

A “thoughtful, courteous, smart” person, Chalamet’s “default setting is uncertainty”, wrote Hattersley, but his level of fame comes with certain unwanted attention including a love life “revealed in the grainy pixels of paparazzi long lenses”. His latest relationship with Jenner has put tabloid media “in a frenzy”, said Guy Kelly in The Telegraph, and has sent social media “utterly berserk”.