"I've admired Julie for so long," said Natalie Portman
"I’ve admired Julie for so long, and particularly her work with [director] Todd [Haynes],” Portman said.
“Their collaborations have stayed in my mind as some of the highlights of films that I love," she continued. "So to get to be working with them together is absolutely a highlight of my life.”
The film is about an actress named Elizabeth Berry (Portman) who travels to Georgia to meet and study the life of the woman she is preparing to portray in her next role: Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Moore).
Gracie and the much younger Joe Yoo (Charles Melton) engaged in a controversial romance that landed her in prison due to their age difference. After her release, the two married and had a family together.
According to Netflix Queue, Portman brought the script to Haynes in 2020 and serves as a producer of the movie. Moore said the story immediately drew her in.
“I loved this script when I first read it,” she recalled. “It’s interesting. It felt slight at first. But the minute you get into it, it’s unbelievably sturdy. It holds a tremendous amount of feeling and humanity and complexity.”
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Moore also opened up about the nuances of her character and what lies under the surface.
“For Gracie, there’s been a tremendous amount of judgment about her,” she explained. “She wants to say, 'See me. Know who I am. Know why I've made these choices.' She wants to be known. I think that there's something really interesting about that, about letting somebody into your very, very private life to explore, to see who you are."
"But, of course, Gracie’s also presenting a version of herself that she wants to be known," Moore added. "I think Elizabeth becomes more dangerous as Gracie realizes that she can’t control her own narrative.”
Haynes told Netflix Queue that Moore is a master at portraying complex female characters. The duo worked together on previous films like Safe (1995), Far from Heaven (2002) and Wonderstruck (2017).
“Julianne loves to enter into these places of inscrutability in her depictions of women, and in stories in general,” he said. “She does not want to put the viewer at ease. How you ignite a viewer’s thinking and questioning — that is opening up something incredibly potent and special, and a lot of movies sort of shut that down.”
May December is in select theaters Nov. 17 then on Netflix Dec. 1.
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