Natalie Portman Didn’t Realize How ‘In Character’ Charles Melton Was Until After ‘May December’

“He’s so confident and charismatic … while we were filming it was all so utterly opposite,” the actress said of her costar

"May December" (Netflix)
"May December" (Netflix)

Natalie Portman revealed she didn’t really get to meet her “May December” costar Charles Melton until after filming the Todd Haynes movie.

The pair starred alongside Julianne Moore in the Netflix romance thriller. Portman played Elizabeth Berry, a method actor who goes to shadow Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Moore), a woman who sexually assaulted a 7th grader and then married him after serving time in prison. Melton played the student Joe Yoo, who grew into adulthood and eventually carried on the relationship with Atherton-Yoo.

Despite their close proximity on set, Portman explained that Melton’s real personality eventually took her by surprise.

“It’s only been now, where I see him so physically and emotionally transformed as himself, that I realize how in character he was back then,” she told the Wall Street Journal in an interview for the publication’s Men’s Spring 2024 Fashion Issue.

Director Haynes also dished on how Melton has been taking in his new fame since the Netflix film was released.

“Watching him navigate this particular experience of getting the attention and the acclaim has just deepened my appreciation of him,” Haynes said.

As for Melton, who took his mother as his date to this year’s Golden Globes ceremony, said he understood his character because he loves the opportunity to lose himself in a role.

“I was like, ‘Oh, I get this guy,’” the “Riverdale” alum said. “Wanting to disappear. I get not wanting to take up space.”

“May December” was inspired by the true story of Mary Kay Letourneau, who sexually assaulted her 6th grade student Vili Fualaau. Letourneau then got pregnant and was eventually arrested. She pleaded guilty to felony second-degree rape of a child and served a six-month prison sentence.

The film dropped on Netflix on May 20, 2023.


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