Real Interview That Inspired Disturbing 'May December' Scene Has Resurfaced Online

The Netflix drama takes inspiration from the criminal relationship between teacher Mary Kay Letourneau and sixth grade student Vili Fualaau.
Julianne Moore as Gracie and Charles Melton as Joe in Netflix’s “May December.”
Julianne Moore as Gracie and Charles Melton as Joe in Netflix’s “May December.”
Courtesy of Netflix

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Netflix film “May December.”

Fans of “May December” may be shocked to learn that the dialogue in one of the film’s most unsettling scenes is eerily similar to a real-life interview.

The Netflix drama — which began streaming on Dec. 1 — stars Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Charles Melton, and is loosely inspired by the relationship between Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau.

In 1996, Letourneau, a schoolteacher, began statutorily raping her sixth-grade student, Fualaau, when he was only 12 years old. Letourneau was 34.

Despite Letourneau later pleading guilty to child rape and receiving a 7 1/2-year prison sentence, Letourneau and Fualaau managed to conceive two children together. After Letourneau was released from prison, the two got married in 2005.

Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau during a photo shoot at her beachfront home in 2006.
Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau during a photo shoot at her beachfront home in 2006.
Ron Wurzer via Getty Images

Although “May December” changes Letourneau’s name to Gracie (Moore) and Fualaau’s name to Joe (Melton), and tweaks the couple’s origin story slightly, it’s fairly obvious that the film is based on the real-life couple.

This becomes abundantly clear in one of the movie’s most pivotal scenes, in which the dialogue between Gracie and Joe seems lifted from a 2018 interview that Fualaau and Letourneau did with the Australian TV program “Sunday Night.” The dialogue is so similar that clips of the “Sunday Night” interview have been making the rounds of social media this week.

In the footage circulating online, interviewer Matt Doran confronts Letourneau about being the “adult” when she first met Fualaau, and things quickly become disturbing.

“You can say that,” Letourneau responds to Doran.

“I am saying that,” Doran presses.

“I was by age,” Letourneau says.

“And maturity,” Doran retorts.

“Uh, yeah, maybe,” Letourneau says, as Doran goes on to point out that she was his teacher.

“But you don’t know him,” Letourneau says, gesturing to Fualaau as he quietly sits next to his wife with a furrowed brow.

“I don’t need to know him in this discussion,” Doran says. ”He’s the child. I’m talking about you.”

Letourneau then turns to Fualaau and asks him repeatedly, “Who was the boss?”

Fualaau seems incredibly uncomfortable but eventually says, “There was me pursuing you, but — ”

Letourneau then interrupts him to say again, “Who was the boss back then?”

“This is ridiculous,” Fualaau says.

Letourneau is persistent. “But who was the boss?” she asks. “Who?”

“This is getting weird,” Fualaau says before conceding again, “Well, I was the pursuer.”

“Yes!” Letourneau says.

“Mary ... come on, he was 13,” Doran says.

“It doesn’t matter,” Letourneau says.

“It absolutely does matter,” Doran says.

“Oh, well, flaw me,” Letourneau says dismissively.

In “May December,” the dialogue from this interview is used for a scene in Joe and Gracie’s bedroom, where he finally confronts her about how they began their relationship. Much like Letourneau in the interview, Gracie dominates and manipulates her husband, leaving Joe to seemingly have an epiphany about their marriage and his arrested development.

“May December” appears to also be inspired by a USA Network movie based on Letourneau and Fualaau called “All-American Girl.”

A scene in “May December” in which Natalie Portman’s Elizabeth is trying to better understand Moore’s Gracie.
A scene in “May December” in which Natalie Portman’s Elizabeth is trying to better understand Moore’s Gracie.
Francois Duhamel / courtesy of Netflix

In “May December,” Portman plays an actor named Elizabeth who is set to star as Gracie in a TV movie based on her relationship with Joe. Elizabeth travels to meet and spend time with Gracie and Joe to better understand the character she is about to play. During her visit, Joe slowly starts to realize that there are cracks in the facade of the perfect suburban family life that he and his wife have created.

Fualaau filed for separation from Letourneau in 2017, and they officially divorced in 2019.

Despite this, the two remained close, and were spotted out together. Fualaau was at Letourneau’s side when she died of stage 4 cancer in 2020 at age 58.

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