Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman Respond to Vili Fualaau's May December Criticism

Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman defended their movie May December after Mary Kay Letourneau's ex-husband Vili Fualaau called it a "ripoff" of his real-life story.

By Gabrielle Chung Jan 08, 2024 9:04 PMTags
Watch: Mary Kay Letourneau's Ex Vili Fualaau SLAMS "Ripoff" May December Film

Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore are standing by May December.

The actresses responded to Vili Fualaau's criticism over the Netflix movie, which he called a "ripoff" of his real-life relationship with late convicted sex offender Mary Kay Letourneau. While attending the 2024 Golden Globes, where the film was nominated for Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture, both Portman and Moore said they're sorry Fualaau feels that way about their film.

"It's not based on them," Portman told Entertainment Tonight. "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. It's its own story, it's not meant to be a biopic."

Meanwhile, Moore insisted that director Todd Haynes "was always very clear when we were working on this movie that this was an original story, this was a story about these characters."

"This was our document," continued the Oscar winner, who also worked with Haynes on 2002's Far From Heaven and 2017's Wonderstruck. "We created these characters from the page and together." 

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May December centers around the controversial romance between an adult woman (Moore) and her son's teenage friend (Melton). The plot bares similarities to the story of Letourneau and Fualaau, who started a romantic relationship in the '90s when she was 34 and he was her 12 years old student.

Letourneau was ultimately convicted for second-degree rape for her involvement in the relationship and served more than seven years in prison. She married Fualaau in 2005 following her release, but the pair—who share two daughters—divorced in 2019. Letourneau died of cancer at age 58 the following year. 

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Fualaau previously blasted May December's filmmakers for not seeking his consultation.

"If they had reached out to me, we could have worked together on a masterpiece," the 40-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Jan. 4. "Instead, they chose to do a ripoff of my original story."

Fualaau added, "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."

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