While the Netflix film May December is loosely based on the illegal romance between Vili Fualaau and Mary Kay Letourneau, he says he’s “offended” that the production never approached him about it, considering he’s living in the Seattle area and could have collaborated on the project.
“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,” Vili, 40, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Thursday, January 4.
“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,” he continued.
The film’s writer, Samy Burch, claimed that Vili and Mary Kay’s story was simply a “jumping off” point for the movie. “Certainly, that’s the seed of it, the big picture thing, but it was important to me that this wasn’t the Mary Kay Letourneau story,” she told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s Los Angeles premiere in November 2023.
May December tells the story of Julianne Moore‘s Gracie, a married former pet store worker who fell for and had sex with her 13-year-old coworker Joe, played by Charles Melton. She became pregnant, went to prison and the pair later married despite their 23-year age gap. Their differences come into focus as their youngest children are about to graduate from college and leave home, leaving Gracie and Joe alone together as a couple for the first time without kids in the house to raise.
Mary Kay was a 34-year-old married Washington school teacher when she fell for and had sex with 12-year-old Vili in 1996. He was a sixth-grade student in her class. She became pregnant with his child, went to prison, and upon her release violated a no-contact order that resulted in her second pregnancy. Mary Kay was sent back to prison to spend the full length of her seven-year term behind bars.
She was released from prison in 2004. The following year, Mary Kay and Vili married. The couple raised their daughters Audrey, 26, and Georgia, 25, and ultimately separated in 2017. They divorced in 2019.
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“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,” Vili explained to the publication.
“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],” he added.
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