VENICE, Italy -- Timothée Chalamet is already one of the most acclaimed young actors working today, but he says that the prospect playing young Henry V in "The King" was terrifying.
"It was a real challenge for me," Chalamet said Monday at the Venice International Film Festival, where the film is having its world premiere.
"It was terrifying at the same time but I had an amazing time."
He was drawn to the project simply because he was out of his wheelhouse. The 23-year-old has been nominated for an Oscar, but he's never done stunts, worked with swords or played a role quite like this. And not many people his age have.
The film is drawn from Shakespeare's "Henry V" as well as "Henry IV" parts one and two. Co-writer and co-star Joel Edgerton, who plays Falstaff, had had a formative experience doing the plays. But they'd often cast older actors who had the perceived gravitas and experience for the part.
"There was a real aversion to using younger actors for these roles," Chalamet said. "At the time power was wielded by unusually young people ... That felt new and unique to explore."
He said there is something "disturbed" about young people having so much power.
The film follows young Henry, or Hal, from his drunken days in Eastcheap to his early days as King of England, a position he never wanted and takes reluctantly when his father, Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn), dies.