Man whose life story inspired ‘May December’ calls Netflix film a ‘ripoff’

Man whose life story inspired ‘May December’ calls Netflix film a ‘ripoff’Man whose life story inspired ‘May December’ calls Netflix film a ‘ripoff’
via 7NEWS Australia, Netflix
Vili Fualaau, whose life story inspired the Netflix film “May December,” says he is offended by the project, claiming he had not been consulted during its production.
About the film: Starring Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman, Netflix’s “May December” follows the story of a Hollywood actor, Elizabeth Berry (Portman), who went to Savannah, Georgia, to research her role portraying Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Moore). Gracie was imprisoned for having a sexual relationship with Joe Yoo (Charles Melton), her son’s 13-year-old friend, whom she married after her release 23 years later.
“Jumping-off point”: In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fualaau, now 40, says he had not been consulted by the film’s director (Todd Haynes), screenwriter (Samy Burch) nor Melton, who has been winning awards for his performance. Despite numerous parallels between the movie and his life, the creators reportedly distanced themselves, citing the real-life case as a mere “jumping-off point.”
A real-life story: Fualaau experienced a similar situation with Letourneau, who first initiated their sexual relationship in 1996 when he was 12. At the time, Letourneau, then 34, was Fualaau’s sixth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Burien, Washington.
Letourneau later pleaded guilty to two counts of child rape and was imprisoned from 1998 to 2004, during which she gave birth to Fualaau’s second child. The two married in May 2005 but separated in 2019, and Letourneau died of cancer in 2020. Fualaau fathered a third child in a new relationship two years later. In September, he learned that one of his two daughters with Letourneau is pregnant, making him a grandfather at 40.
What he’s saying: Fualaau told THR that he feels disappointed and exploited by Hollywood.
“I’m still alive and well,” he said. “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.”
While Fualaau expressed willingness to collaborate with writers who can capture the complexities of his life, he said “May December” does not accurately portray it.
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