Chasing a Scandal (May December) is a drama that explores the intriguingly dark dynamic between two women. In the series, Natalie Portman plays an actress named Elizabeth, who is set to play a role based on the life of Gracie, played by Julianne Moore, who made headlines 20 years ago for having an affair with a teenager.
The love affair between Gracie and Joe, played by Charles Melton, is the central event in the film. This relationship started when Gracie was 36 and Joe was 13. This situation caused Gracie to go to prison. However, after his release, the two got married and started a family.
He described May December’s impact on the real-life Mary Kay Letourneau case, as well as “90s scandal culture” in general. “That was really the starting point for me,” she said. Gracie, the fictional character created by Haynes, is not a pedophile, she said. “He doesn’t have a history of attacking every little teenage boy. There’s something very special between these two people,” she said.
May December has received praise from critics since its release. Former Riverdale star Charles Melton won a 2023 Gotham Award for his supporting performance in the film. Melton’s partner, Moore, celebrated the honor at the ceremony in November 2023 on Instagram.
Read on for everything you need to know about May December.
May December explores the increasingly tense dynamics between Natalie Portman’s Elizabeth Berry and Julianne Moore’s Gracie Atherton-Yoo. It also follows Melton’s Joe Yoo as he navigates his marriage path and his increasing conflict with the wife who seduced him in his youth.
“As Elizabeth tries to get closer to the family, the disturbing truths of their scandals emerge, causing difficult, long-dormant feelings to resurface,” the film’s official blurb reads.
May December follows TV actress Elizabeth as she stars in a new film based on a scandalous romance, 20 years after she hit the headlines. The plot revolves around 36-year-old Gracie who begins a relationship with then-13-year-old Joe at a pet shop where they work, which results in him being sent to prison. Following her release, Gracie marries Joe, who is now 36 years old. Joe maintains that the relationship was consensual at all times.
As Elizabeth prepares to play Gracie in the upcoming film about the scandal, she travels to the film’s setting, Savannah, Georgia, to investigate the couple’s real-life relationship. But a deeper dive into their lives begins to cause cracks, forcing Joe to rethink his dynamic with Gracie.
Who is in the cast of the TV series “May December”?
In the film, we see Moore as Gracie Atherton-Yoo, Portman as Elizabeth Berry and Melton as Joe Yoo.
Moore has previously talked about how difficult it was for her to take on this role. “I called Todd (Haynes) and said, ‘I can’t do this.’ This is so hard!'”. The actress confessed at an event in November 2023; “I was really struggling. ‘Who is this woman?’ I thought.”
Haynes, meanwhile, had previously praised the actor for his dedication to the role in a press conference to “get to the heart of what would make this type of relationship happen.” Haynes writes, “The complexity of the character of Gracie as written…represents countless contradictions and fascinating elements of determination followed by a determined, almost dogged lack of self-reflection, a determination to stick with the choices she has made.” aforementioned.
Melton also did serious preparation for the role, gaining 40 pounds to transform into Joe. “It was a collective discussion that Todd and I had. We talked about how Joe would feel rather than what he would look like,” he explained. “This came about as he looked at the reality of being a suburban dad with three kids and a loving husband. He didn’t really have the opportunity to have much time for himself.”
Joking about his weight gain, Melton said, “I just ate a lot of Five Guys, pizza, ice cream, Capri Sun and Gushers… I could go on. And I really enjoyed it!” said.
Portman was thrilled to work with Moore, describing the experience of collaborating for Netflix as “absolutely one of the highlights of my life.” He explained: “I’ve admired Julie for a very long time, especially her work with Tod.” “Their collaboration remains in my mind as one of the highlights of the movies I love,” Portman continued. So working with them is definitely one of the highlights of my life.”
Trailer of the movie May December
The first official trailer for May December was released in September 2023, offering a look at the disturbing dynamic between Portman and Moore’s characters before the film opened at the New York Film Festival in May 2023.
Is May December based on a true story?
The film offers a fictionalized look at the real-life case of Mary Kay Letourneau, a Seattle school teacher who was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for child rape after she began sexually abusing sixth-grader Vili Fualaau in 1996.
At the press conference held after the film’s screening at the New York Film Festival in September 2023, screenwriter Samy Burch explained how much of the story was inspired by the life of Letourneau, who died of cancer at the age of 58 in 2020.
“I really wanted a fictional story that took the ’90s tabloid culture that led to the true crime biopic world we’re in now, questioning that transition and why we wanted to keep reinventing those things.” “That was the real starting point for me,” said Burch, who began working on the script in 2019.
“Stories like this are all completely ingrained in everyone’s cultural history,” he added. Although the production is loosely based on real-life events, Haynes revealed at the press conference that Moore was inspired by Letourneau when creating the character and, in particular, developing Gracie’s speaking voice.
“To be honest, there were things in Mary Kay Letourneau’s speech that we found interesting, like the loose upper palate, and that was a start for her. And she took it even further,” he said.
When did May December premiere?
May December premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2023. It was later released in select theaters on November 17, and was subsequently released on Netflix on December 1, 2023.