Timothee Chalamet might be young, but he’s clearly talented beyond his years. Even before the 24-year-old actor was in high school, his acting chops were able to impress the right people to get him enrolled in LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. The actor, who’s appearing in the upcoming film Dune, nearly missed his chance to attend the legendary school, however, until someone stepped in on his behalf.
Vanity Fair spoke with Harry Shifman, who is a drama teacher at LaGuardia. Over the 26 years he’s taught at the school, he’s seen some amazing talent. After all, it’s the alma mater of huge stars like Jennifer Aniston, Awkwafina, and Al Pacino. Despite all the other accomplished students he’s seen over the years, Chalamet’s audition to attend the prestigious school is a standout memory for Shifman.
Timothee Chalamet’s standout audition
Part of the reason Chalamet’s audition was so memorable for Shifman was because he gave it the highest score he’d ever given a potential student. “He was really that good, and he must have been, I don’t know, 13 at the time. It was riveting,” Shifman recalled. “It was already clear that this kid was so interesting and gifted and compelling.” But despite all that high praise, Chalamet wasn’t accepted into the school.
The Call Me By Your Name actor’s sister attended the school and informed Shifman that her brother hadn’t gotten in. He immediately went to the principal for more answers. “For some reason, who knows, maybe it was something on his middle-school record, lateness, or I don’t know what—[he had been] rejected in the interview.” Shifman, recognizing Chalamet’s great talent, plead the boy’s case.
A change of heart
Luckily, the principal was responsive to his arguments. Chalamet was admitted to the school. “In fact, thank god she did,” Shifman added, “because, I don’t know, he’d probably be in medical school now.” Had Shifman not interfered we wouldn’t have seen Chalamet’s standout performance in Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women or his brilliant portrayal as King Henry V in Netflix’s The King.
Chalamet and Selena Gomez are often linked together in the tabloids thanks to the friendship they developed after playing love interests in A Rainy Day In New York. The two stars insist that their relationship is purely platonic, but that doesn’t stop tabloids from pushing the narrative that they’re dating. In 2018, Ok! Australia claimed Gomez’s then boyfriend, Justin Bieber, was jealous of her friendship with Chalamet. Gossip Cop checked in with a source close to the situation at the time who shot down this rumor. Tabloids really will just say anything if they think it’ll make them a quick buck.