I can see what the photographers were going for here with Timothee Chalemet — the photo has shape, he’s staring right at the camera, challenging it — but I have to be honest: My first reaction was to snicker. It’s the kind of self-serious thing you see in old magazines you use at the hairdresser to point out what you want done. It looks like their pose inspiration was this giraffe. Or this surly ostrich. Or the credits to any ’80s show where the actors turn to camera and stare. They HAVE basically given him Joan Collins’s Alexis Carrington Colby hair. Imagine him purring about oil leases and hurling a martini. It fits. It just… I can’t help it; I think it there’s something so silly about this photo. Compare it to the second cover:

ONLINE - Timothée Chalamet British Vogue October 2022 Cover (1)-1663260551

This one is a lot better. It fits that sort of slouchy, sleepy demi-rocker aesthetic that he can work so well, and he’s connecting with only one eye. To me, THIS photo better supports the argument that there’s something intangible about this kid that draws people in — and that, after all, is the entire crux of the story. Timothee is not my cup of tea as an actor, but he almost always brings the A-game to the red carpet, and has successfully created an aesthetic to the point where you can see his influence on other people. His ease with those avant-garde choices, which never feel costumey on him as they can on other people, is fun to behold even if I find him to be a bit of a surly performer. But hoo boy, y’all, British Vogue is here for hyperbole today. Edward Enninful calls him “modern man incarnate” and says, “Neither tooled nor marketed by the Hollywood and fashion machines to appeal to teens or grandmothers, women or men, he is simply himself. He is a man for everybody.” (I am not sure I agree with some of that, but there it is.) The profile’s actual fourth word is “princeling,” it likens his energy to part-street-style star, part Buster Keaton (huh?), and later calls him an inscrutable dreamer, imagines that their waitress feels visited by “a celebrity angel,” and makes SURE that you know he and the writer have rubbed elbows in a social setting before:

“The charm is very real: “We met before,” he says, recalling some 3am dance floor-adjacent small talk we had a few years ago.

This is… not an overwhelming example of charm? It’s really just a courteous, minimalist statement of fact on Timothee’s part that serves the writer more than the subject. (It honestly reads like the story is trying to imply an intimacy that I suspect was not there?) And I chortled at this, which cannot have been the intent:

He finds the world too desperate for answers to questions he doesn’t have answers for. “It’s always like, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Do you know who you are?’” It’s possible he does not. To be honest, after a while in his company you start to wonder if you know who you are either. His small talk has this habit of pulling at the fabric of time and space. “You’re the captain of your fate,” he says excitedly at one point. “Master of your fate and captain of your soul. Like those things where you can, like, draw with both knobs.” An Etch A Sketch? “Exactly. You shake it up and then it’s all gone. You can’t just keep building on the same Etch A Sketch.

This analogy ends up haunting me for days. 

For DAYS!!!!!! It’s Chicken Soup for the Chalamet Soul!!! In fairness, my overall impression is that they had a boring conversation that yielded very little, and the author was frantically trying to tease it out into something cover-length. As much as the British Vogue covers tend to be more interesting than its American counterpart, I often find the actual stories to be wanting. I learned nothing here except that Timmy couldn’t conjure the name Etch-a-Sketch right away. But, Timmy also recorded the following chat with Edward Enninful where they ate fries together, so I bet that was the priority and the onus on this was simply not to be repetitive of that?

THAT is a better example of “the charm is real,” for sure.

As for the photo shoot they mention, Timmy is completely f’ing unrecognizable to me in this photo, and it also looks like they stuck the head from one onto the body of another. It is unsettling to say the least. But the idea of the ’80s rock aesthetic works for him. Check THIS out:

ONLINE - Timothée Chalamet British Vogue October 2022 Inset (1)-1663260573

I love it, this is maybe the most interested I have ever been in him, and he would fit RIGHT into a Bon Jovi biopic. Can we make that happen?

[Photos: Steven Maisel for British Vogue; the October issue of British Vogue is available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday, Sept. 20]