The new movie “May December” starring Todd Haynes has been called a “dream role” by Natalie Portman. In the film “May December,” Portman plays Elizabeth Berry, an actress who will play Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) in a motion picture. When Gracie, a Georgia woman, had a sexual relationship with Joe, a 12-year-old child, she became well-known in the tabloids. (Indeed, this is somewhat inspired by the true story of educator Mary Kay Letourneau, who wed her young student Vili Fualaau after having an affair with her.)
After two decades, Gracie is attempting to put the scandal behind her. However, Elizabeth goes to see Gracie and the now 36-year-old Joe (Charles Melton) in order to be ready for her next part. Even though the couple is still married and has kids, Elizabeth’s presence reveals the cracks in their neatly put-together façade. In the midst of the Variety interview, she was posed with a question, “As a former child actress who is now a mother, would you encourage your children to get into this industry? Or do you see enough change that it feels safe for them if they choose to get into it?” Portman carefully answered, “I would not encourage young people to go into this. I don’t mean ever; I mean as children. I feel it was almost an accident of luck that I was not harmed, also combined with very overprotective, wonderful parents. You don’t like it when you’re a kid, and you’re grateful for it when you’re an adult. I’ve heard too many bad stories to think that any children should be part of it. Having said that, I know all the conversations that we’ve been having these past few years. It’s made people more aware and careful. But ultimately, I don’t believe that kids should work. I think kids should play and go to school.”
Moreover, she remarked, “There are so many refractions that all mirror the work Todd put into it. How you see the characters with Samy [Burch]’s writing, where it switches as soon as you think you know something about them. You’re never sure or comfortable about who you’re supposed to be feeling. It was just a gift to get to do.”
Natalie Portman’s best roles would probably include her Oscar-winning roles as a troubled ballerina in “Black Swan” (2010) and the earlier First Lady in “Jackie” (2016). Portman’s most recent performance, “May December,” may stand proudly with her past appearances, directed by auteur Haynes.