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Vili Fualaau 'Offended' By Netflix's Version Of Mary Kay Letourneau Relationship In May December!

Vili Fualaau Is ‘Offended’ By Netflix’s Telling Of His Controversial Relationship With Mary Kay Letourneau In May December

May December may be shaping up to be an awards season favorite, but not everyone is a fan… One of the very real individuals the film’s fictional story was loosely based on hated it.

If you haven’t seen the Netflix powerhouse, it stars Natalie Portman as an actress researching the role of Julianne Moore’s Gracie Atherton-Yoo. In the film, Gracie’s relationship with Charles Melton’s Joe Yoo was the subject of a media storm in the ’90s. She began having sex with the boy when he was just 13 years old, and she was 36! After getting caught, she goes to prison — where she has his child! The film finds them 20 years on, after they got married and are raising three kids together.

If this is ringing a bell at all, it’s because it’s loosely based on the real-life case of Mary Kay Letourneau — the Seattle woman who at 34 years old, sexually victimized 12-year-old Vili Fualaau. Like the movie depicts, the two went on to get married and welcome children together — two daughters. But not before Mary Kay pleaded guilty to to two counts of felony second-degree rape of a child in 1997 and spent six months in prison.

Related: Natalie Chillingly Credits ‘Luck’ To Not Being ‘Harmed’ As A Child Actor

Mary Kay died of cancer in 2020 — three years after the two separated in 2017. But still, he was by her side when she passed. Vili went on to welcome a third child in a new relationship, and his youngest daughter with Mary Kay is now pregnant. So the story goes on…

Vili is still very much alive to see the film inspired by his story. And he’s not a fan of how it turned out!

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published on Thursday, Vili, now 40 and still living in Seattle, opened up his experience (or lack thereof) with the film’s conception:

“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.”

A ripoff? He continued:

“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.”

It’s clear Vili is not opposed to sharing his real story with the world through film… But the filmmakers weren’t looking to tell that story. They took inspiration from the tabloid stories and imagined their own characters to tell a human story they wanted to tell. The result is a far cry from a Lifetime movie of the week. But it’s not something Vili can appreciate. He thinks the film is just a poorer version of his own story. He told the outlet:

“I love movies — good movies. And I admire ones that capture the essence and complications of real-life events. You know, movies that allow you to see or realize something new every time you watch them. Those kinds of writers and directors — someone who can do that — would be perfect to work with, because my story is not nearly as simple as this movie [portrays].”

Screenwriter Samy Burch said at the film’s premiere in November that the real-life story was merely a “​​jumping-off point.” And director Todd Haynes explained they went in-depth with the research process into the real Letourneau’s relationship. He said on the carpet:

“There were times when it became very, very helpful to get very specific about the research, and we learned things from that relationship.”

That research clearly stopped short of actually reaching out to the real person involved. Clearly Vili feels he should have been consulted to give the film more depth. But would it have become his story then? Instead of something new?

What are your thoughts, Perezcious readers? Should May December’s creative team have consulted with Vili? Let us know in the comments down below!

[Images via DoctorOz & Investigation Discovery/YouTube & Netflix]

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Jan 04, 2024 15:50pm PDT