Netflix today released the full trailer for Todd Haynes’ new film May December, where Academy Award winner Natalie Portman takes on her most challenging role yet — playing Academy Award winner Julianne Moore. Well, sort of.
In May December, popular television actor Elizabeth (Portman) heads to Savannah, Georgia, to research a part in a new film that follows a scandalous tabloid romance. That love affair — between Gracie (Moore) and Joe (Charles Melton) — was once a fixture of the gossip pages. After all, Joe is significantly younger than Gracie, who served time in prison when they were caught together. When she was released, the pair were married, and they now have three children together who are about to graduate from high school. At first glance, their untraditional marriage looks more predictable than Elizabeth expected. But soon, her observation brings long-dormant feelings to the surface, and the decades-old scandal reveals deeper and deeper layers.
“Both women are circling each other and trying to get a handle on each other. I think a lot of it is about a process of trust, which is Natalie’s character, Elizabeth’s goal to make Gracie feel toward her,” said Haynes. “It’s Elizabeth’s project to try to navigate around these resistances piece by piece.”
In her role as Gracie, Moore teams up Haynes for the fifth time in a long career partnership dating back to the ’90s. Together, the pair have worked on such movies as Safe, Far From Heaven, I’m Not There, and Wonderstruck. Naturally, she felt like the perfect person to take on the role of Gracie. “It didn’t take very long for me to think about Julianne Moore for this role,” Haynes told Netflix earlier this year.
Playing Joe was a departure for Melton, whose transformation into a suburban husband and father really impressed Haynes. The director said he was “stunned by the understatement and a sense of understanding” Melton had of the character during the audition process. “The way he depicted somebody who was so stuck, so caged up, so bound up in this marriage, and who really had not learned yet how to take steps on his own behalf.”
The film world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year, will hit the BFI London Film Festival and all eight screenings on Opening Night of the New York Film Festival are already Standby Only. Director Todd Haynes and longtime producing partner Christine Vachon will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Collaboration at the 46th annual Mill Valley Film Festival.
May December will be in select theaters on November 17 and on Netflix in the U.S. and Canada on December 1. Here is the trailer.
Photo: François Duhamel / Courtesy of Netflix