‘May December’ offends Vili Fualaau in real life: ‘scam’

Vili Fualaau, alumnus and ex-husband of the late Mary Kay Letourneau, is not a fan of the acclaimed movie “May Dec.”

Despite director Todd Haynes’ attempt to give the character based on Fualaau his due focus in the film, the former student involved in the child rape scandal that captured public attention in the ’90s felt disrespected for not having been consulted for the project. .

“If they had contacted me, we could have worked together on a masterpiece. Instead, they chose to make a copy of my original story,” Fualaau told the Hollywood Reporter. “I feel offended by the entire project and by the lack of respect that has been given to me, who lived a real story and I am still living it.”

“May Dec” follows 36-year-old Joe Yoo (Charles Melton) and his 59-year-old wife, Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore), who are faced with raising three college-aged children in the same town they had been scandalized. decades earlier when the two became lovers just as Yoo finished seventh grade.

The film’s screenwriter, Samy Burch, said he was inspired by the case of Letourneau, a Washington state schoolteacher who pleaded guilty in 1997 to raping her sixth-grade student, Fualaau. Years later, after Letourneau’s release, the two married and raised their children together until separating 14 years later; Letourneau died of cancer in 2020, with Fualaau at her side.

The film tells the story through the lens of an actress, Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman), who stays with the couple in their home as she prepares to play the complicated and “morally gray” Atherton-Yoo. Haynes recreated moments from televised interviews and tabloid covers, but told Collider that the film has a “treacherous” quality in the way it leads the audience away from their expectations or assumptions about the characters.

“The wonderful thing about the way it’s structured is that it’s the third act that opens up the space for Joe, Charles’ character, to really find the focus of the movie,” he told the outlet. “But it happens with a very different kind of language, and it’s very delicate and very tender, and the rest of the movie hasn’t been like that.”

Melton, best known for “Riverdale,” told Collider that when he read the script, he felt instantly connected to the character.

“I immediately felt this connection with Joe, who this man was, his feelings. Although our experiences are different, I found many parallels in my own life,” he said. “Just delving into who this man was and what he represented and this responsibility that he had at such a young age, that he carried until he was 36 years old. Just this repressed human being who begins to ask himself questions that he has never really had. the opportunity to ask.”

Fualaau told the Hollywood Reporter that he understands that his life has been a saga in many ways and that he would have liked a film that carefully and comprehensively captured his experience.

“I love movies, good movies. And I admire those that capture the essence and complications of real-life events. You know, movies that allow you to see or realize something new every time you watch them,” he told the outlet. “It would be perfect to work with those types of writers and directors, someone who can do that, because my story is not as simple as this movie. [portrays].”

Representatives for Haynes and Melton did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.

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