An upcoming Disney film has sparked comparisons to one of director Luca Guadagnino's best-known works. Pixar's Luca teaser is giving major Call Me by Your Name vibes, despite being at very opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of content and kid-friendliness. Soon after the first Luca teaser trailer premiered on Thursday, Feb. 25, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer's romantic drama started trending on Twitter instead, as viewers started pointing out the surprising similarities between it and the new animated flick.
Luca follows best friends Luca Paguro and Alberto Scorfano, voiced by Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer, who spend a summer in an idyllic seaside town on the Italian Riviera, riding mopeds, eating gelato, and hanging out on scenic rooftops. Sound familiar? It's almost the exact scenario seen in Call Me by Your Name, when Elio (Chalamet) and Oliver (Hammer) are joined together at Elio's Italian cottage by his professor father; they form a deep relationship, with the scenic Italian countryside as their backdrop. However, there are some huge differences between the films.
For one, there's no romance to be found between the BFFs in Luca. And they're not even human beings. Luca and Alberto are actually sea monsters who take on a human form when they go on land. They must keep their true identities a secret, given how they're surrounded by statues posing with the dead remains of oceanic creatures and could be seen as public threats. You could argue that the film is more reminiscent of The Little Mermaid or The Shape of Water, but that didn't stop Twitter from calling Luca "Disney's remake of Call Be By Your Name."
If you want an answer for the similarities, filmmaker Enrico Casarosa's background might be it. He, like Guadagnino, is Italian, and he drew on his past for his directorial debut. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Casarosa said that Luca is "a story of friendship" inspired by his own childhood best friend (whose real name is actually Alberto), who similarly helped him find his identity as they roamed around the Italian shores, just like the film's characters.
"I was sheltered, shy, timid, and he was more of a go-getter, no family around, so he had complete freedom," Casarosa explained. "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?"
Tremblay also found Luca and Alberto's friendship special, as he told Entertainment Weekly. "They start off as strangers and Luca is almost scared of Alberto at the beginning, but they learn a lot about each other," he said. "They learn how to improve upon themselves, whether it's being braver or being a better friend."
Luca is scheduled to open in theaters on June 18, 2021.