In context: Imagine going from a gaming-focused YouTuber with a small following to the star of one the biggest movies in recent times. For Timothée Chalamet, who plays Paul Atreides in Dune, this really did happen, though there was quite a long gap between operating a channel and sharing the screen with sandworms.
Vice carried out an extensive investigation into rumors that Chalamet had once been the presenter of ModdedController360, a YouTube channel that showed off customized Xbox 360 controllers. The publication worked with Aric Toller, a researcher and trainer at Bellingcat, which is best known for investigating war crimes, to try and prove the claims.
The report examines hints that Chalamet is the person in the videos, whose face is never shown. Some of the most compelling evidence is the scar on both the actor’s and the presenter’s left ring finger, as well as images of Chalamet’s room he previously posted on Instagram showing the same furniture seen in the vids. The YouTuber’s voice also sounds similar to a young Chalamet when compared to clips of him acting at the time—his big break was a role in Law & Order in 2019, before the videos were filmed.
But it seems Vice could have saved a lot of time and just watched Fortnite Pro Nate Hill’s YouTube channel. In an interview with Timothée Chalamet & Zendaya to promote their Fortnite skins, Chalamet admitted to his past hobby. “I had a YouTube channel people found,” he said. “It’s YouTube dot com back-slash ‘ModdedController360. And I used to paint-mod controllers.”
The actor said he would open up and paint the controllers for people when he was 15, charging them $10 for around five hours work. “I made 30 bucks,” he added. Asked why he stopped, Chalamet said, “My parents were like, ‘There’s spray paint all over the house.'”
There are only three videos, all of them posted 11 years ago, on the ModdedController360 channel, which has seen its subscriber numbers jump by several thousand recently. Their view counts have also shot up since Chalamet confirmed he is the presenter.