Metro Weekly

No, ‘Luca’ isn’t Pixar’s ‘Call Me By Your Name,’ director confirms

Director Enrico Casarosa has rejected comparisons between his film and the 2017 gay drama

luca, call me by your name, pixar, gay
Luca (left) and Call Me By Your Name

A lot has been said about the striking similarities between Pixar’s upcoming animated film Luca and 2017’s Oscar-winning gay drama Call Me By Your Name.

Both are set in sun-drenched Italy and feature male leads exploring the Italian countryside, sharing gelato, riding around together, and generally growing closer.

Where they differ, of course, is that one is a coming-of-age story whose leads are hiding a deeply-held secret from friends and family. The other is Call Me By Your Name.

Naturally, a lot of people noted the connections between the films, with some hoping that Luca might include gay protagonists.

So plentiful were the comparisons that Luca‘s director, Enrico Casarosa, has emphatically confirmed that his film doesn’t tackle sexuality or gay youth.

Instead, Luca is about childhood friendship, and nothing more, he told Polygon during a recent press conference.

“I was really keen to talk about a friendship before girlfriends and boyfriends come in to complicate things,” Casarosa said.

He rejected comparisons to Call Me By Your Name, saying, “That was never really in our plans,” and that the film is instead about “friendship in that kind of pre-puberty world.”

Casarosa said he based the film on his own childhood experience growing up with his friend Alberto, a “bit of a troublemaker” who pushed him out of his shell — much like Luca‘s character Alberto does to title character Luca.

“The type of friendship that is gonna push you into trouble,” Casarosa said. “Push you into change, push you into finding yourself.”

Luca follows Alberto and Luca (not Elio and Oliver), two young friends on the Italian Riviera who both share a secret — they’re sea monsters from a world hidden under the ocean, who transform into humans when they’re on land.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Casarosa tied the friendship between Luca and Alberto directly to his friendship with Alberto.

“I was sheltered, shy, timid, and he was more of a go-getter, no family around, so he had complete freedom,” he said.. “It definitely got me out of my comfort zone to start testing the waters and being a little braver. I think so many of us have these friendships that are right smack in the middle of when we’re just leaving the confines of the family, that really help define our identity. What are you? What are you not?”

Pixar’s Luca is currently set to open in theaters nationwide on June 18, 2021.

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