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Timothée Chalamet
Photography Davit Giorgadze, Styling Alvin and Sid Yahao Sun, courtesy Dazed China

Was pre-fame Timothée Chalamet really an Xbox YouTuber?

Before Dune, it seems the actor was giving Xbox controllers a ‘sexy’ red tiger paintjob

Your first encounter with Timothée Chalamet might have been his breakout role in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, or his turn as Saoirse Ronan’s love interest in Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age film from later in 2017. It might have been his take on Laurie in Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, or (god forbid) that one Woody Allen film.

However you stumbled across everyone’s fave internet boyfriend, it almost definitely wasn’t through his YouTube channel dedicated to showing off custom Xbox 360 controllers.

Yes, you read that right. Following an extensive investigation by Motherboard and the investigative journalism site Bellingcat (which usually spends its time digging into war zones, human rights abuses, and the criminal underworld), the Dune and French Dispatch actor has been outed as a former Xbox YouTuber.

Specifically, it appears that he’s behind the formerly-anonymous YouTube account ModdedController360, which has three videos showcasing custom controllers: a “Christmas-themed” green/red version, a version in blue/silver, and finally a “sexy” red tiger addition. Each of these is introduced in a separate video, with the customary: “What’s good YouTube.”

Written by Vice reporters Matthew Gault and Emanuel Maiberg, with contributions from Bellingcat’s Aric Toler, the investigation examines specific details from the videos in an attempt to confirm Chalamet’s identity. These include a scar on his left ring finger (his hands are pretty much the only identifying feature that is visible in the videos), and the background of the videos, which was cross-checked with images of his childhood bedroom previously posted to Instagram.

Though Toler admits that he didn’t know who Chalamet was up until the investigation, he concludes: “Ya, seems like it’s him.”

In fact, Chalamet himself confirmed his controller-modding past in an interview with YouTuber Nate Hill last week (October 22). “I had a YouTube channel people found,” he says at one point in the conversation, sharing the specific address. “I used to paint-mod controllers. I did three.” 

Chalamet goes on to admit that he only ended up making three sales at $10 a piece, much to the amusement of fellow interviewee Zendaya. Explaining his lack of sales, he adds: “My parents were like, ‘There’s spray paint all over the house, you can’t do this any more’.”

Of course, this isn’t the only piece of mildly cringy video footage to emerge from Chalamet’s childhood (we still haven’t forgotten the viral statistics rap performed under his hip hop alias, Lil Timmy Tim). Like the previous clips, his Xbox-based YouTube channel has blown up since his name was attached, with each video now boasting hundreds of thousands of views. At least he might be able to sell a few more controllers now, if the whole acting thing doesn’t work out.