Before Timothée Chalamet became a household name with roles in Academy Award-nominated films Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird, the 22-year-old was studying at NYU while pursuing his acting career freely. In 2015, he landed the role of Daniel in A24 and Elijah Bynum’s Hot Summer Nights, which is now available for viewing on DIRECTV as well as select theaters in the United States.
Showcasing Chalamet and the rest of the cast’s impeccable talent, Hot Summer Nights was inspired by two kids Bynum knew in college who had a successful drug dealing business that took a tumbling turn. Describing the situation as dramatic and Shakespearean, Bynum told us that the scenario would make a good story line because it leads to the realization that life isn’t always perfect.
The coming-of-age story is set in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the Summer of 1991 against the background of a hurricane to reflect the struggles of what Daniel Middleton (Chalamet) is going through. Neither a “townie” or a “summer bird,” the socially awkward teen tries to navigate through the summer while juggling friends, love, and drugs.
In the film, Daniel meets Hunter Strawberry (Alex Roe), a local who is known around town for peddling marijuana to vacationers, protecting his younger sister Mckayla (Maika Monroe), and allegedly killing a man. Sensing an opportunity to be like the cool kids, Daniel persuades Hunter to go into business together, where they deal pounds of drugs and make thousands of dollars. The newly confident teen also falls for Hunter’s sister McKayla and keeps it a secret from her overprotective brother and current business partner.
Things seem to be at an all time high for Daniel until the brewing storm actually hits. He runs into problems with drug smugglers, his secret relationship is revealed, and everything he worked for falls apart in the worst way possible.
One thing we love about this drama is how brutally honest it is. Being told from a bystander’s point of view, the film shows viewers things that can happen when one gets wrapped up in the wrong crowd trying to fit in. Aside from its dark turn, Hot Summer Nights is filled with romance and comedy, resembling classic flicks like Mean Girls.
The film’s cast is nothing to overlook either. Breakout star Timothée Chalamet brings his beloved and charming talent that we know and love to the role of Daniel Middleton, while Alex Roe channels his inner “James Dean” for Hunter, making us instantly fall in love with the bad boy that actually has a heart. For the ladies, Maika Monroe made us forget she was actually portraying a character on screen with her precise execution, while Maia Mitchell stepped out of her comfort zone to play a sweet, innocent teen who falls in love with the bad boy.
You can catch Hot Summer Nights in limited theaters throughout the US and on DIRECTV, and learn more about the film by watching our interviews with the cast from the Los Angeles red carpet premiere.