On Thursday, Fualaau, Mary Kay Letourneau’s ex-husband and former sixth-grade student, told The Hollywood Reporter that he is “offended by the entire project and the lack of respect given to me—who lived through a real story and is still living it,” criticizing the film’s team for not consulting him.
He went on, “I divorced Letourneau in 2019, but I was by her side when she died of cancer a year later.” “We could have worked together on a masterpiece if they had contacted me.” Instead, they chose to plagiarize my original story.
Although the film crew claims it is not about them.
The inspiration for “May December,” Vili Fualaau, is speaking out about being portrayed in Todd Haynes’ Awards season powerhouse, and he is not pleased.
“The entire project offends me, as does the lack of respect shown to me as someone who has lived and continues to live a true story.”
“I enjoy films that capture the essence and complexities of real-life events.” You know, the kind of movies that make you see or realize something new every time you watch them? Those types of writers and directors—someone who can do that—would be ideal to collaborate with, because my story is not nearly as simple as the one in this film.
The late Mary Kay Letourneau’s former student and estranged husband, Vili Fualaau, is not a fan of the acclaimed film “May December.”
Despite director Todd Haynes’ efforts to give the character based on Fualaau adequate attention in the film, the former student involved in the child rape scandal that captured the public’s attention in the 1990s felt disrespected that he had not been consulted for the project.
Melton, who plays Joe Yoo, Fualaau’s stand-in in the film, has been the toast of awards season thus far, winning prizes at the Gotham Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, as well as nominations for the Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Awards.
“May December” follows 36-year-old Joe Yoo (Charles Melton) and his 59-year-old wife, Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore), as they navigate raising three college-age children in the same town where the two became lovers just as Yoo was finishing seventh grade.
Samy Burch, the film’s screenwriter, stated that he was inspired by the case of Letourneau, a Washington state schoolteacher who pleaded guilty to raping her sixth-grade student, Fualaau, in 1997. After Letourneau’s release, the two married and raised their children together before splitting up.
Haynes based the film on televised interviews and tabloid covers, but he told Collider that it has a “treacherous” quality in how it steers the audience away from their expectations or presumptions about the characters.
The third act, which allows Charles’s character Joe to find the film’s focus, was particularly well received by fans.