Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024
Natalie Portman’s new comedy-drama alongside Julianne Moore and Charles Melton has already gotten rave reviews for not only their performances but also for the screenplay. Many would be fascinated to know that the movie is based on real events. It is loosely adapted from the real-life scandal of a teacher, Mary Kay Letourneau, who was found to have relations with her pre-teen student. While the director Todd Haynes had said he wanted to not focus on the actual events as much, he admitted he was unsuccessful in doing so.

The disturbing case of Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau

A 30-something, Mary Kay Letourneau first met Vili Fualaau when he was in 2nd grade, according to her when she first met the child, she felt a bond. She told the Seattle Times, “There was a respect, an insight, a spirit, an understanding between us that grew over time.” Reportedly the two fostered a close relationship when Mary started to help Vili pursue his love for the arts. But soon enough as the teacher’s life started apart in 1995. At this point, a 12-year-old Fualaau was coincidently in her 6th-grade class at the school, and through a series of unfortunate events, just a few days before his 13th birthday, Mary started sexually abusing him. This would go on for 9 months before she was found out, and charged with second-degree child rape. Later she gave birth to their first child in 1997 and conceived a second while she was on trial for her crimes. After serving 7.5 years in jail, the two got married in 2005 and stayed together till 2019. She died at the age of 58 in 2020, just a year after their divorce.
The on-screen adaptation. In the 2000s there was an on-screen adaption of the scandal that ran on the USA network, with Penelope Ann Miller portraying Mary. Todd Haynes, the director of May December told The Daily Beast, “I really started by pushing that [the real story] to the side and just being like, ‘Okay, let’s bear down on the specific choices and the distinctions that Samy Burch’s script makes from the Mary Kay Letourneau story.” But later on he realized there was no possible way of doing so.
Though he did admit that while Gracie [Julianne Moore] is not a copy-paste of Mary Kay, she still has some qualities of a real-life person. Todd revealed, “Mary Kay Letourneau has this fascinating sort of lazy tongue. That’s the source of the lisp [of Gracie].”

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