Timothée Chalamet’s rise to stardom

Before the end of this year, Timothée Chalamet will appear in the sci-fi epic Dune: Part Two as Paul Atreides, the witch-king of a desert planet, and in Wonka as the titular magical chocolate maker.


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 25: Timothée Chalamet attends the State of the Industry and Warner Bros. Pictures Presentation at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 25, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon)

During 2023 he also became the face of Chanel’s Bleu de Chanel. For an actor who is so young and who has been in the spotlight a relatively short time, it has been quite a year.

Chalamet is one of the biggest young stars today and his rise to prominence has been impressive. In recent years, he has shown he can handle more diverse roles and he has so far escaped being typecast.

What’s his secret?

YouTube era

One of Timothée Chalamet’s earliest appearances in front of the camera may have been on his YouTube gaming channel. In these early videos, the future star talked about his love of modded Xbox controllers. Although online gaming is one of the most popular hobbies around the world, in 2010 when he was making these videos, becoming famous for playing video games online wasn’t really possible. These days, it’s a viable route to fame but for a young Chalamet there wouldn’t have appeared to be much of a future in it.

His love of video games hasn’t faded, even though he has outgrown his YouTube career. While it was short-lived, by playing online and hosting his own channel, Chalamet was able to develop his persona and his acting talents. These early opportunities of dealing with comments and a gaming community were also great experiences for learning how to handle the press and preserve his privacy while still seeming approachable and open.

First roles

Chalamet’s first roles were small parts in major films. In most of these, he played the younger version of a main character. In Interstellar (2014), he played the younger version of Matthew McConaughey’s son, and in The Adderall Diaries (2015), he was the teenage version of James Franco’s character.

These roles did not necessarily involve a lot of screen time but it was enough to introduce Chalamet to audiences, and show how much promise he had.


In 2017, Chalamet got his major break, starring in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name as Elio Perlman. The film is a coming of age romance, set in Italy in the 1980s. It tells the story of Elio’s sexual awakening as he falls in love with his father’s visiting grad student (played by Armie Hammer).

The film was a commercial and critical success. It is considered one of the best films of the decade and was nominated for four Academy Awards – one for best actor in a leading role for Chalamet. Though he didn’t win, it did secure him a place as the third-youngest nominee in the history of the Academy Awards.

After Call Me by Your Name, it was impossible to deny Chalamet was a talented young man, destined for stardom - especially if he continued to choose interesting roles.

The next step

The next major roles for Chalamet were not particularly interesting or unique.

In Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird (2017) he played the main character’s love interest – an angsty and manipulative young man. In 2018, he starred in Beautiful Boy with Steve Carrell. The film told the story of a young man in the grips of drug addiction. While the subject was edgier than his previous films, the role relied heavily on his delicate good looks.

A misstep

Every actor makes one or two bad choices in their career. When a young actor suddenly becomes a hot commodity, they are offered a huge number of roles and it can be easy to mistake an interesting role for a good one.

So far, Chalamet’s only real career misstep has been The King (2019). He played King Henry V in a film that combined terrible accents with strange acting choices and was thankfully quickly forgotten.

Changing the game

In 2021, Chalamet starred in Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune. In his role as Paul Atreides in the space epic, Chalamet broke the mould. The character is a warrior prince who has mystical powers and is prophesied to change the universe.

David Lynch had previously adapted the series for cinema in 1984, and it was a filming nightmare and a commercial failure. Taking the role was seen as a major risk and challenge for Chalamet. The massive success of the film showed that the public was ready to see the young actor in more interesting roles.

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