Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series spotlighting the year’s most talked-about scripts continues with the Todd Haynes-directed May December starring Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman and Charles Melton. It made a splash at Cannes this year when the darkly comedic and complex feature, loosely based on the story of Mary Kay Letourneau, was picked up by Netflix in a splashy $11 million rights deal.
“It’s just made all of us feel emboldened,” Haynes told Deadline at the time.
Written by Samy Burch (its her first produced script), the film follows the nature of a scandalous romance between a married woman and a 13-year-old that was a tabloid staple when it happened 20 years ago. As in the high-profile romance between teacher Letourneau and Vili Fualaau, Moore’s character served time for seducing an underaged teen, but eventually married the kid and they moved away to raise a family and live quietly. The film’s trigger is the interaction between the couple (Charles Melton plays the husband) and an actress (Natalie Portman) who travels to their Maine home to study the life of the woman she will play in a film.
Sparks fly among the three as unresolved issues resurface in a romantic drama that reunites Haynes with Moore after they made 2002’s Oscar-nominated Far From Heaven together; Haynes got his own nom for that film’s original screenplay.
After its Cannes debut, Haynes carried the May December momentum through the fall festival circuit with stops in New York and London. As awards season hits, the film appears to be a serious early contender with an Outstanding Supporting Performance win for Charles Melton at the Gotham Awards, a Best Screenplay nod for Burch from the New York Film Critics Circle, and five Spirit Awards nominations including Best Feature.
May December hit theaters with a small run last month and debuted on Netflix on December 1.
Click below to read the script.
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