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October 12 2019
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Timothée Chalamet as Henry V in The King.

I stand up to greet Timothée Chalamet and he shakes my hand. “Nice to see you again,” he says. Endearingly, he thinks we’ve already met — sadly, we haven’t, although his face is awfully familiar. The posters for his new Netflix film are everywhere, proclaiming “All Hail the King.” I’m not sure if they mean King Henry V, the character he’s playing in a film adapted from Shakespeare’s history plays, or Chalamet himself who, at the tender age of 23, is fast becoming Hollywood royalty. And I’ve seen the pin-up du jour draped across magazine spreads and on Instagram — both his official account and the @chalametinart account that photoshops his face on to classic works of art (my favourites are The Lute Player by Caravaggio and the timely Head of Prince Hal by Charles Robert Leslie).

We meet one scorching afternoon the day after the premiere of The King on a private island in the Venice lagoon. Chalamet is tall, far taller than I expected; a pale thin duke just shy of 6ft. He’s wearing a navy-blue loose-knit sweater and sunglasses and, in a feat of co-ordination, balances an espresso cup and saucer in one hand as we shake with his other.

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