The actor talks with on-screen mother Chloë Sevigny on chemistry, social media and their favourite skaters.

Jack Dylan Grazer in black blazer and multi-coloured jumper


Jack Dylan Grazer in black blazer and multi-coloured jumper

Taken from the Autumn 2020 issue. Order your copy now.
Directed by Call Me by Your Name’s Luca Guadagnino, eight-part series We Are Who We Are follows a group of teenagers living at a US military base in an isolated Italian seaside town. Jack Dylan Grazer plays 14-year-old Fraser, whose mother (Chloë Sevigny) has just been made a general and moved their family over from New York. Awkward, unimpressed and out of place, the first episode sees him ask Britney (Francesca Scorcese) — a classmate intrigued by his expensive t-shirt and animal print shorts — what exactly there is to do there. “See your friends, anything you want,” she replies nonchalantly, setting a precedent for a recurring theme in the series: “Without friends, you’re nothing.”

It’s quickly clear the group has little in common, brought together by boredom but bound by a need to feel part of something. They shuttle back and forth from base to beach, sharing crisps, sharing firsts, and clinging on to connection in a place that doesn’t feel like home. Away from the structure and ceremony of the camp they find escapism in music, drinking and dancing, embracing the freedom of long days in their languid town. From these tenuous friendships to the close bond Fraser forms with Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamon) and even their friends’ teenage wedding, for now, they’re all they have.

While heightened relationships and longing for independence are central to any coming-of-age experience, Guadagnino holds a magnifying glass to the way teenagehood can feel like lingering on the edge of real life. Even the show’s sun-drenched landscape feels dulled by grey skies fading into sand and sea, its town lethargic in the heat. Fraser seems especially out of place amongst the stillness, stifled by small-town life away from everything he sought meaning from in New York.

Jack Dylan Grazer skating wearing blue coat and jeans
Black and white picture of Jack Dylan Grazer

(LEFT) All clothing by LOUIS VUITTON and necklace by EMANUELE BICOCCHI (RIGHT) All clothing by GIVENCHY and hat by GIVENCHY by NICK FOUQUET

Jack Dylan Grazer skating wearing blue coat and jeans
All clothing by LOUIS VUITTON and necklace by EMANUELE BICOCCHI All clothing by GIVENCHY and hat by GIVENCHY by NICK FOUQUET
Black and white picture of Jack Dylan Grazer

Inevitably, he blames his mother for uprooting their life and unravelling the identity he was forming at an age when self-perception is at its most fragile. It’s a resentment that’s palpable, carried in his mannerisms and delivered with hostility when he tells her he hates her — hates her uniform, hates it here; every moment he’s in this place he feels like “a little piece of me is dying” — and their relationship becomes volatile in a way that’s uncomfortable to watch.

A slow, intricate plot unfolds as Guadagnino observes their strained dynamic alongside those of other families at the camp, gently exploring politics, patriotism, religion, sexuality and gender in the process. As its characters navigate growing up in this pocket of America in Italy, We Are Who We Are captures the chaos bottled up within an unusually constrained environment, shining a light on everything spilling out that makes us human.

Now quarantining in New York and LA respectively, Grazer and Sevigny catch up to reflect on their instant connection, killing their scenes, the skaters they’re into and the secret Sevigny kept from them all on set.

Jack Dylan Grazer wearing red blazer and white t-shirt

All clothing by GIVENCHY

Jack Dylan Grazer wearing red blazer and white t-shirt
All clothing by GIVENCHY

JDG: Hey!
CS: How are you?

JDG: Oh my god, I never really got to tell you, but congratulations on your baby!
CS: I was going to say, you can really call me mommy now…

JDG: Aww. Mommy! Sounds weird if I do it… But oh my god, how is he? It’s a boy, right?
CS: It’s a boy, which is so fun. What’s so funny is that while we were in Italy obviously I was pregnant; I was in my first trimester but I didn’t tell anybody

JDG: It was a big secret. I didn’t know!
CS: I was like, ‘What if I have a boy?’ And then I would like, really look at you. Because I always wanted a girl, and kind of assumed that I would have a girl because I’m such a girly girl, but you were such an amazing boychild, boy, now young man… I was like, I can maybe get into this boy thing. So I was really being kind of creepy lurking on you. I was kind of manifesting my boychild to be somewhat like you, because I was so impressed with you.

JDG: Oh my god! Chloë that’s the nicest thing. I’ll come over and I’ll mentor your son then. Joke!
CS: I remember your mom saying that you started talking, speaking full sentences, when you were so young.

JDG: Yeah, like five or six months.
CS: That’s insane. How was that even possible? Do you recollect being a bright child? Did people tell you all the time or were you just like, in your own head?

JDG: I don’t know… I mean, my mom read to me all the time and encouraged me to talk all the time; she had an imprint on it. She wasn’t doing like, ‘gaga goo goo’, she was speaking full sentences.
CS: Wow. I’m so impressed with her. I should call her and get some notes. [Do you] read a lot now that we’re in the quarantine? Because I remember when we were on set you were like, in school.

JDG: I just read a really cool book called Americana — that was for my summer reading — and now what’s kind of cool is that they’re assigning this book called White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.
CS: I grew up reading a lot and now with the phone, I can’t! It’s just so hard for me to read a book.

JDG: I know, ‘cause it’s the biggest distraction ever. […] I don’t think I’d want to be without my phone, though. I try to be like, ‘Oh, it’s good without my phone!’ And then I think, ‘But I wish I had music or something right now…’ I don’t know, it’s fucking terrible. I’m not really on my phone that much anyway, but I don’t know what I would do without it.
CS: Of course, yeah. We’re all attached to them. How do you have a healthy relationship to not always be checking your Instagram and all that crap?

JDG: I don’t care that much about Instagram. I care about sustaining friendships and relationships with people by texting and talking and doing all that. I like posting my skating videos and all that stuff, but I don’t know if it’s like ‘promotional’, it’s just fun to share it and show off that.
CS: I don’t have as many followers as you, obviously you have a gazillion. But I actually feel like some of my relationships have kind of flourished because of the communication that it gives when you reach a certain level, whereas you have so many that it’s hard to get that to happen, maybe.

JDG: Yeah I know, it’s suffocating.
CS: ‘Oh, my head! It’s a burden having three million followers!’

JDG: No, but —
CS: Well it is, because it’s like another aspect of the job when it gets to that level.

Jack Dylan Grazer sitting in skate ring

All clothing by DIOR HOMME and sunglasses by GENTLE MONSTER

Jack Dylan Grazer sitting in skate ring
All clothing by DIOR HOMME and sunglasses by GENTLE MONSTER

JDG: I don’t know if it’s even intentional, but it feels like a different persona that I put out on Instagram or on Twitter.
CS: I don’t do Twitter. I don’t think I’m clever enough.

JDG: Me neither.
CS: I feel like Twitter is for adults and Insta-gram is for kids, so I guess I’m still in the kids zone… I don’t have TikTok either.

JDG: That’s even better! You definitely don’t need TikTok. TikTok is the most time-consuming fucking garbage ever but it’s so fun, unfortunately. But I hate it, it’s terrible.
CS: Do people put skate stuff on TikTok?

JDG: Yeah, but if you do it’s kind of annoying because there’s not good skaters on TikTok. The best skating you’ll find is probably on Instagram or YouTube.
CS: Right. Who are your favourite skaters?

JDG: My number one if definitely Chris Joslin. I don’t know if you know who that is but he’s good. I also like Robert Neal and Yuto Horigome.
CS: Is he Japanese?

JDG: Yuto is, yeah.
CS: I only know the kids from Supreme be-cause Bill Strobeck, who does all those videos, is [one of] my best friends. I know older skaters and then like the Supreme kids, Sage and Sean Pablo and stuff.

JDG: I like Shane O’Neill, do you know who that is? He’s Australian, he’s good though. I got a bunch… Hey you know who I talked to recently about you — Steve Berra. You know Steve Berra? I talked about Italy and working with you and stuff and he says he loves you.
CS: Cute

JDG: Yeah, he’s really cute, he’s a cute guy. And Jason Dill… But he’s not that cute.
CS: Jason’s my friend, he sent me a whole box of Fucking Awesome.

JDG: Oh my god, I fucking love Fucking Awsome. Is he cute though, like physically? No!
CS: But he’s cute because his mind is so incredible.

Jack Dylan Grazer in sequin silver top

All clothing by AMI

Jack Dylan Grazer in sequin silver top
All clothing by AMI

JDG: I know, genius. I have so much FA stuff. Actually, James Ransone gave me a bunch of FA stuff.
CS: I have a bunch of the pink long sleeves of mine, if you want I can send it to you?

JDG: Oh my god yes, I would love one.
CS: Your friend Finn I think had one. I saw him once on Instagram.

JDG: You gave him one?
CS: No, I don’t know how he got it… It’s a hot ticket.

JDG: Yeah, it is actually!
CS: I haven’t been to LA in so long; I want to go check out the store.

JDG: How are you surviving in New York right now?
CS: You know, it’s scary because of the baby… I can’t really share him with my friends which I’d really like to do. But he’s pretty easy, we’ve been lucky so far.

JDG: That’s good, that’s really good. How old is the baby now?
CS: Three months.

JDG: Three months! Oh my goodness. I don’t know how you hid that in Italy because you didn’t look pregnant.
CS: Towards the end I did, and I had to do this semi-nude scene. My publicist saw the whole series and she’s like, ‘You look so pregnant in the scene…’ He told me he was going to fix it in post — the classic quote-on-quote “fix it in post” — and I guess he didn’t, or couldn’t.

JDG: Oh my god. You still talk to Luca?
CS: I talked to him the other day, yeah.

JDG: And it’s his birthday on the 10th.
CS: Oh fuck, is it? Have you seen the series?

JDG: Yeah… Have you? You’re so good Chloë, but I’m not surprised by that.
CS: No, you’re so good.

JDG: You were mesmerising.
CS: I saw up to episode like six. I always get discouraged when I see things that are cut out… Oh my god, can I tell you something?! So in episode eight, there’s a shot at the end where there’s these two pigeons that were flying together, and it was symbolic because it’s like me and Caitlin finding each other. It was on accident; as soon as we ran off camera these two pigeons flew by the camera and it was so fucking cool. I was like, ‘Luca why did you cut that?!’ and he was like ‘It’s cheesy, it’s cheesy, it’s gross.’

Jack Dylan Grazer in silver sequin jumper

All clothing by AMI

Jack Dylan Grazer in silver sequin jumper
All clothing by AMI

CS: He really doesn’t like to force-feed any emotions though, he likes to have the audience to have to find them on their own.
JDG: Yeah that’s true, I know. I love that though.

CS: And they’re in it with you. I mean I felt in it with you. I just wanted to be with your character. You have so much going on in your eyes all the time, and even if there’s not a lot of movement in the story I feel like you’re just captivating to watch. So there you go!
JDG: It was captivating to work with you. I remember when we were at the table meet — I don’t know if you remember this, I don’t know if it’ll sound weird — but I remember I was staring at you for a really, really long time and I was really interested. I felt like I’ve never looked at somebody for so long and felt a connection. And then you looked at me sometimes, but you didn’t know that I was staring at you for like five minutes — but I was like staring at you for five minutes! I was like oh my gosh, I can’t wait to work with her because I feel already this connection, like kinetically, from across the room. And then I’m working with you — and slapping you — and then all like the brashness of just being in your presence I suppose. The connection was just… There was chemistry I’ve never felt with any other actor.

CS: Aww
JDG: We killed our scenes. We fucking did, we destroyed it! Not to toot my own horn or anything.

CS: Me neither…
JDG: I’ve been tooting your horn all day Chloë, are you crazy? Get away!

CS: Our scenes were so fun because we were so like, wild. You were just like acting out and I just let you. I was wondering, [how is] quarantine?
JDG: OK, actually it varies from good through great to like, the worst days of my life. It’s been the craziest ride actually, internally.

CS: Did you work since We Are Who We Are?
JDG: Yeah, animation stuff. Animation has been saving my life, seriously, because nobody is giving me any live action stuff right now.

CS: Yeah, I was supposed to do a TV series thing on my friend’s show but it got cancelled.
JDG: Yeah, because of Covid? I was going to do this really cool movie I was so excited about and it’s shot in LA. It was for Netflix and I was so fucking exhilarated about it and then they didn’t do anything. Animation is really in its prime right now because I’m doing it in my closet. I have a whole set up in my closet, it’s insane — like I’ve walled the foam things like in the sound booth. They sent me all the stuff, they sent me a mic. So, I’m just doing it in my closet all the time.

CS: I’ve been watching an animated series called Summer Camp Island.
JDG: What’s it on?

CS: It was for Cartoon Network, it’s on HBO Max. I don’t know, I hit this certain point in quarantine where I just needed something kind of pleasant like that… So now I’m like 51 episodes in.
JDG: Wow, oh my god! Holy Moses!

CS: They’re only like 10 minutes each, but I’m deep in there… There’s like witches and magic and inanimate objects speak and I recommend it, strongly.
JDG: OK, I’ll check it out. But there’s a cool show I found called The Midnight Gospel. Have you seen ads on Netflix? It’s only cool to watch like falling asleep, I think. It’s like a podcast but it’s animated.

CS: What are you voicing?
JDG: I’m voicing a Pixar movie and this one other Disney movie that I’ve been working on for four years that’s really, really fun. It’s got Zach Galifianakis in it, Ed Helms and Olivia Colman.

CS: Wow. Sounds such a blast. Well I hope you keep your head up during quarantine and don’t get too sad or any sad days.
JDG: You too, you too.

CS: I’m sad we can’t have like a premiere and everybody see each other again.
JDG: I know, I know! What the fuck, it sucks! It’s so ehhh.

CS: It’s a collective though, everybody’s experiencing it as a collective which feels good. Alright sweetie.
JDG: Alright, I love you.

CS: You too, stay good.
JDG: You too.

CS: Speak to you really soon.

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