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‘May December’ «Offended» Vili Fualaau, ex-husband of Mary Kay Letourneau

in Netflix may december, Natalie Portman stars an actor named Elizabeth who descends on a small town to investigate the relationship between Gracie (Julianne Moore), who he will play in the upcoming film, and Joe (Charles Melton), decades after the couple’s scandalous beginnings: They became sexually involved when the former was in his mid-30s and the latter was in the seventh grade. But Vili Fualaau, who serves as the loose real-life inspiration for Melton’s Joe, says that no one from the production even contacted him about the project to ask how his experiences might inform him.

«The whole project offends me and the lack of respect towards me – who lived the real story and still lives it,» said Fualaau, now 40. The Hollywood Reporter. He broke the silence as may december is gaining critical acclaim and season awards — including Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay for Melton and scriptwriter Sam Burch, or last night New York Film Critics Circle Dinner.

Mary Kay Letourneau, who died in 2020, was convicted of second-degree child rape and forced to register as a sex offender after she began a sexual relationship with her student, Fualaau, when he was 12 years old. Like Gracie and Joe, Letourneau and Fualaau welcomed multiple children and stayed together for just over two decades, despite prison stints for both the fictional Gracie and the real Letourneau. While Burch previously said Vanity Fair that she was not committed to research and «wanted not to feel shrouded in facts», the commonalities between the film and the Letourneau case are undeniable. In one scene where Joe confronts Gracie about the origins of their relationship, she replies, «Who was the boss?»—a line straight out of Australian TV interview with Letourneau and Fualaau.

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«I’m still alive and well,» said Fualaau, who welcomed a third child and soon-to-be grandfather following Letourneau’s death from cancer. The Hollywood Reporter. “If they had approached me, we could have worked together on a masterpiece. Instead, they decided to steal my original story.’

He also took aim at film director, Todd Haynes, who said before day beast that while he wanted to «reduce the specific choices and distinctions Samy Burch’s script makes from Mary Kay Letourneau’s story», there were still clear similarities, such as Gracie’s grunting, which was informed by «the lazy tongue of a real-life woman». .” “I love movies — good movies,” added Fualaau. “And I admire those that capture the essence and complications of real events. You know, the movies that make you see or realize something new every time you watch them. It would be great to work with writers and directors like that — someone who can do that — because my story is nowhere near as simple as this movie (depicts).”

Portman, whose character has no obvious real-life counterpart, acknowledged the difficulty of bringing fictional versions of real people to life when discussing the film. VF at the Cannes Film Festival. «I think it’s very dangerous,» she said. «As artists, we need to be very aware that we are not vampires on people’s lives – and to be much more empathetic, rather than blood-sucking, when we try to feel other people’s emotions.»

Representatives for Netflix, Haynes and Melton did not respond to requests for comment The Hollywood Reporter. Vanity Fair she also reached out about the piece.

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