Long before I became a professional writer and was forced to start adulting, I spent far too much of my adolescence on the chaotic corner of the internet known to many as Stan Twitter. For most of that time, my Twitter was a stan account dedicated to expressing my immense love for ). If we were living in an alternate universe, the actor would have been cast as our beloved Spider-Man, a role he lost out to Tom Holland. But he has since stuck to DiCaprio’s controversial yet wise advice of avoiding superhero projects altogether, and it’s working out in the best way possible.
Up until a few years ago, box office numbers were a key factor in a celebrity’s status. Actors like DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Pitt, and Depp were able to fill seats in a movie theater solely based on the power of their household names, and this in-turn helped build their star personas. Recently, the concept of a movie star seems to be in crisis. Save for Tom Cruise, who carried Top Gun: Maverick to the top of the box office earlier this year, the idea of a box-office megastar doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Sure, there are names like Channing Tatum, Ryan Reynolds, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. But even of these three, Tatum is the sole person who has shown that he can carry studio-backed movies that aren’t formally attached to superhero universes.
Chalamet exists in a Hollywood gray area. It’s true that thousands of people will flock to cinemas to see his beautiful face appear on the big screen, but he hasn’t proven yet that his popularity among feral young women on the internet can translate to tickets being sold.
Last year, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune served as the perfect introduction to the world of blockbusters for Chalamet, giving us a taste of how well he can carry a massive-scale mainstream movie. Chalamet appears in nearly every scene of the sprawling 2-and-a-half-hour film, and he makes his presence felt. Released in the middle of the pandemic after a string of delays, Dune was a box-office hit, making over $400 million worldwide.
It would be impossible to talk about the appeal of Chalamet without mentioning his daring sense of style, which makes him stand apart from the majority of his fellow A-listers. From what appeared to be a glittering Louis Vuitton harness at the 2019 Golden Globes to a backless red jumpsuit at this year’s Venice Film Festival, he consistently makes bold fashion choices. More importantly, he never fails to pull them off. It feels like he has a connection to the clothing he wears rather than dressing a certain way for the sake of sparking discourse.
He clearly has an adoration for the people who helped get him to where he is now, giddily greeting and taking selfies with fans at film premieres and graciously stopping to take photos with those who happen to get lucky and meet him while out and about. Earlier this month, at the Milan premiere of Bones and All, the red carpet was unexpectedly shut down due to the high volume of fans eagerly awaiting him. Not many actors have that power nowadays.
Despite his immense fame, Chalamet is still the type who makes each role distinctly his own. Unlike actors such as Pitt and Depp, who are so well-known that their fame can no longer be distinguished from their on-screen presence, Chalamet disappears into every single one of his characters.
As the notion of a leading man continues to evolve, Chalamet remains at the forefront of the massive cultural shift. In an age where male celebrities who accrue a sliver of popularity are immediately labeled “internet boyfriends,” regardless of whether they are talented or charismatic, Chalamet is triumphant in being a swoon-worthy celebrity who perfectly embodies the spirit of the heartthrob.