Today on Girls On Film Anna Smith has a fascinating discussion about Todd Haynes’ May December with its screenwriter, Samy Burch. Samy talks to Anna about the journey she went on with this screenplay from writing it as a spec script to hopefully gain representation, to it catching the attention of one of the film’s stars Natalie Portman as a producer, and so meeting the legendary director Todd Haynes (Carol, Far from Heaven). Samy talks about the real-life story that inspired the screenplay, the layers of ‘power and manipulation’ in both Moore and Portman’s performances, and the role that gender plays in media coverage of these kinds of stories.
May December tells the story of Gracie, played by Julianne Moore, and Joe, played by Riverdale’s Charles Melton, as they live family life in the shadow of their infamous first encounter: the couple’s 20-year relationship began when Gracie was 36 and Joe was just 13-years-old. Now, two decades later, Natalie Portman plays actress Elizabeth who travels to Georgia to study the couple for a role in an upcoming film. Gracie and Joe are forced to revisit their past from new perspectives, as they question the love story they’ve told themselves and the world.
You can watch May December now in cinemas in the UK, and on Sky Cinema on the 8 December 2023.
Other films mentioned in this episode include:
Persona, Ingmar Bergman, 1966
3 Women, Robert Altman, 1977
Coyote vs. Acme, Dave Green