Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman Respond to Vili Fualaau's Criticism of 'May December' (Exclusive)

Moore and Portman are each nominated for their work in 'May December.'

Julianne Moore is sorry that Mary Kay Letourneau's ex-husband, Vili Fualaau, wasn't pleased with May December

"Aww, I'm very sorry that he feels that way," the actress, who stars in the film that's loosely based off of the controversial relationship, tells ET on the red carpet at the 81st Golden Globes on Sunday. "I mean, Todd [Haynes] was always very clear when we were working on this movie that this was an original story, this was a story about these characters. So that's how we looked at it too. This was our document, we created these characters from the page and together."

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In May December, Natalie Portman plays Elizabeth Berry, an actress researching the past of married couple Gracie (Julianne Moore) and Joe (Charles Melton), who met when Gracie seduced Joe when he was 13. During the movie, Joe fathers children with his female abuser, whom he eventually marries. The film also features actual quotes from Letourneau and Fualaau's 2018 interview.

Portman, who stunned in glam done by celebrity makeup artist Lisa Storey using Dior Beauty products, echoed Moore's sentiments about Fualaau's reaction.

"I’m so sorry to hear that," she tells ET. "It's not based on them, it's, you know, obviously their story influenced the culture that we all grew up in and influenced the idea. But it's fictional characters that are really brought to life by Julianne Moore and Charles Melton so beautifully, and yeah, it's its own story, it's not meant to be a biopic."

In real life, Fualaau, who, like Joe, is Asian/Pacific Islander, was 12 when Letourneau, his teacher, victimized him. In 1997, Letourneau pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Following her conviction, the pair continued their relationship, and welcomed their first child together when Fualaau was 15. The pair went on to welcomed another daughter. However, in 2017 they divorced and Letourneau died in 2020, at the age of 58.

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Last week, Fualaau spoke to The Hollywood Reporter and revealed his thoughts about the film. 

"I'm still alive and well. 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," he said. "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."

For Moore -- who is nominated on Sunday in the Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role -- Motion Picture category -- the role was challenging and complex. 

"It was a very challenging part," she tells ET. "She's somebody who has transgressed in a major way and I think in order to justify what she's done, she sort of tells a story about her life. There's a lot of-- I don't know its interesting. You know Natalie's character comes in and these two women are in a struggle for narrative dominance. Who gets to tell this story who's right, who's wrong."

The 2024 Golden Globes hosted by Jo Koy is on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS and streams on Paramount+. Check out ETonline.com for complete Golden Globes coverage and the full list of winners. 


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