The early, astronomical success of the 22-year-old Timothée Chalamet can be attributed in part to a conversation he had backstage at a concert in Montreal with rapper Kid Cudi.
The breakout star is featured in two Best Picture contenders this year: Chalamet's lead role as the heartthrob in "Call Me by Your Name" earned him an Oscar nomination, and he also plays an aloof boyfriend in Greta Gerwig's indie darling "Lady Bird." In GQ's March 2018 cover story by Daniel Riley, Gerwig calls him "a unicorn" and Riley calls him a "once-in-a-generation talent" — but he still once needed, and got, some advice from Cudi.
The rapper, a "personal god" to Chalamet, also rose to the height of his industry in his early 20s and faced hurdles along the way. He has opened up to the public about stints of depression. Yet his drive and his passion for his work has sustained him.
During his conversation with Chalamet, Cudi "described his own lows and the single-minded determination that forced him to double down on his efforts to perform his way out of trouble," writes Riley. Chalamet reportedly ran home to write down everything he had learned.
"The takeaway was: Are you, Timothée, the sort of person who can't possibly live any other way? 'F--- yeah.'"
He still keeps notes of the conversation in his phone.