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Once upon a time, Dune star Timothée Chalamet was a YouTuber who modded Xbox controllers

timothee chalamet
(Image credit: Sean Zanni via Getty Images)

When I saw Dune in theaters last weekend, I thought to myself, "Dang, this Timothée Chalamet guy is pretty good." As it concerns looking wistfully into sandy dunes, he's got my vote. However, new information has given me even greater respect for the man: For a brief time in 2010, Chalamet had a side hustle modding Xbox 360 controllers with custom paint jobs and showing them off on YouTube.

Chalamet's controller modding channel, which fans first discovered in 2018, was appropriately named ModdedController360. The channel only has three videos, each one showcasing a colorful paint job sprayed on by Chalamet himself, although his face isn't visible in any of the videos. The third and final upload on the channel from March 2010 was an admittedly sick "Red Tiger" pattern that Chalamet says he sold to an online buyer for $10.

"I started it yesterday, finished it today. It looks nice. It looks sexy," said a 15-year-old Chalamet.

His other two designs include a blue variant of the Red Tiger with a slick silver backplate and a "Christmas-themed" red/green controller that I absolutely would've commissioned at the time.

With videos that only ever show us the torso and voice of a young person, how do we know that ModdedController360 was Chalamet? Vice recently conducted an exhaustive investigation of the channel, examining the presenter's voice, familiar features of the room seen in the video, and comparing finger scars to present-day Chalamet. It's a convincing summation confirmed by a clip now making the rounds of Chalamet stating outright that ModdedController360 was, in fact, him.

"I made three," Chalamet said in a recent interview with Fortnite pro Nate Hill. At 15, he earned $30 from the modest business, and he probably would've made more had he not been shut down by the authorities. "My parents were like, 'There's paint all over the house, you can't do this anymore.'"

Not long after his last controller mod upload, Chalamet started getting more acting gigs in film and TV. I guess that's his thing now, but who knows where his modding skills could've taken him in another lifetime. Maybe he would've moved on to custom back paddles or Call of Duty: Warzone aim hacks. The end of his second video does include a special shoutout to "Modern Warfare 2, the best videogame right now."

As a fellow 25-year-old who played a lot of Call of Duty in 2010, I'm starting to think running a secret YouTube channel that nobody watched was just a thing you did back then. While Chalamet modded controllers, I was pointing a Flip video camera at my TV while I played Battlefield Bad Company 2 to a backdrop of Bring Me To Life by Evanescence and reviewing Mafia 2 by talking behind the camera as I held the game box. I can't link to those videos now because, unlike Timothée's sick Red Tiger mod, I purged those internet records long ago.

Morgan Park

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.