Although Netflix drama May December has racked up Golden Globe Awards nominations and critical acclaim, Vili Fualaau, isn’t happy with the film’s depiction of him.
The 40-year-old and his relationship with the late Mary Kay Letourneau were the inspiration for the Todd Haynes-directed movie, where the character of Joe Yoo (Charles Melton) is loosely based on Fualaau. Melton’s opposite, Julianne Moore, plays Gracie Atherton-Yoo, a 36-year-old woman who begins a predatory relationship with Joe, who’s 13 when they meet.
In reality, Letourneau was 34 years old when she pursued Fualaau, who was then a 12-year-old student that she groomed in 1996. Letourneau pleaded guilty to two counts of child rape and served time in prison, later marrying Fualaau in 2004 upon her release. The couple separated in 2019, one year before Letourneau’s death from colorectal cancer.
Because May December shares an uncanny resemblance to Fualaau and Letourneau’s story, Fualaau said that he felt exploited by the film’s production team, who didn’t contact him for insight. “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,” Fualaau said, per The Hollywood Reporter.