Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore respond to Vili Fualaau’s criticism of ‘May December’
By Ryan General
January 9, 2024
Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore have responded to Vili Fualaau after he criticized “May December” for “ripping off” his life story.
About the film: In penning “May December,” Samy Burch reportedly drew inspiration from the real-life story of Mary Kay Letourneau, whose relationship with a 12-year-old student sparked both outrage and fascination in the late 1990s. In the film, Joe Yoo (Charles Melton) is depicted as being seduced in 1992 at age 13 by Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Moore), then 36.
What Fualaau said: Fualaau, 40, has expressed dismay over the filmmaker’s lack of communication during production.
“I’m still alive and well,” Fualaau told the Hollywood Reporter. “If they had reached out to me, we could have worked together on a masterpiece. Instead, they chose to do a ripoff of my original story. I’m offended by the entire project and the lack of respect given to me — who lived through a real story and is still living it.”
What Portman and Moore are saying: Portman and Moore both expressed regret over Fualaau’s discontent but explained that the movie is a fictional narrative. The actors said the movie did not intend to mirror the specifics of Fualaau’s relationship with Letourneau.
“It’s not based on them,” Portman, who played Elizabeth Berry, told Entertainment Tonight during the 2024 Golden Globes. “Obviously, their story influenced the culture that we all grew up in and influenced the idea. But it’s fictional characters that are really brought to life by Julianne Moore and Charles Melton so beautifully.”
Moore also agreed with her co-star, saying that the film’s director, Todd Haynes, “was always very clear” that they were working on an original story.
“This was a story about these characters. So that’s how we looked at it too. This was our document. We created these characters from the page,” she said.
Moore and Melton were nominated for best actress and best supporting actor, respectively, in the recent Golden Globes.
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