Julianne Moore on exploring her "challenging" May December character
Moore stars as Gracie Atherton-Yoo – a woman who began an affair with a 13-year-old boy – in the critically acclaimed drama from director Todd Haynes.
Following a brief theatrical run, Todd Haynes's new film May December has now arrived on Sky Cinema and NOW – and viewers who watch the acclaimed drama will have to grapple with some pretty heavy themes.
The film stars Natalie Portman as Elizabeth, an actor preparing to play the role of a woman named Gracie Atherton-Yoo, who was involved in a tabloid scandal 20 years earlier when she began a relationship with a 13-year-old boy named Joe.
In the film, Joe (Charles Melton) and Gracie (Julianne Moore) are now seemingly happily married with children, but when Elizabeth begins to ask probing questions, Joe starts to reckon with his dark past for the first time - and gradually realises that he was exploited by his wife.
The role of Gracie is a fascinating one in that, on the surface at least, she doesn't appear to take any responsibility for her clear crimes.
And speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Moore explained that it was hard to take on the role without judging her character.
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"I think that is the challenge," she said. "It didn't take much to lure me to do this film. I absolutely adore Natalie and I was so excited to get to work with her, to partner with her on this truly extraordinary story.
"But yeah, my character is somebody who is challenging because she is promoting a narrative that's not necessarily true. And she's done this... she's transgressed greatly.
"I think what she's done is pretty horrible. I mean, it's pretty shocking. But [she] has embraced this narrative of it being a great romance, you know, with a 13-year-old boy."
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She added: "So she's had to elevate him to manhood, while kind of remaining forever a child, and she's sort of promoting this narrative that is, of course, you know, patently false.
"So how do you do that? You know, how do you do that when you're not only promoting that narrative, you're making everybody else believe it too? And I needed to do that without commenting on her and without judging her."
Moore added that Samy Burch's wonderful script helped in that it gave each of the three main characters private moments which allowed the audience to greater understand what they were all individually going through.
"So, I think you do see with Gracie the fact that she is kind of, you know, living this story, this fairy tale, but in private you see how incredibly emotionally volatile she is," she said, "and I think how much shame and confusion and horror there is in it.”