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May December’s Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore on films about films and their dream roles: ‘I want to play a creature’

The stars of Todd Haynes' acclaimed new drama speak out.

By Jamie Tabberer

The cast of May December - Natalie Portman, Charles Melton and Julianne Moore (Picture: Rolling Stone UK)

May December stars Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore have shared their dream roles in an interview with Rolling Stone UK.

The stars appear together in the new film from Carol director Todd Haynes, co-starring Charles Melton.

In it, actor Elizabeth (Natalie) portrays a real-person, Gracie (Julianne), a sex offender who met her now-husband 20 years before as a seventh grader; the story is loosely based on the real-life figures Vili Fualaau and Mary Kay Letourneau.

Asked what real person they’d like to play, the Oscar-winners – as well as Charles – instead, all opted for fantastical characters.

“I want to play a monster – a real monster,” said Julianne. “That’s not a real person! But I want to play a creature. I’ve never played anything looking very ‘other’. I think that would be very interesting.”

“I’d say the same thing,” said Charles. “Gollum from The Hobbit. [But] Gollum’s not a monster! He’s a sweet little hobbit!

“I’d like to be in a kids’ movie, while my kids are still kids!” added Natalie. “I don’t know what the Willy Wonka character for a female would be… But something like that.”

Responding to the immersive and journalistic lengths her character goes to preparing for her role, Natalie said: “I really would never try to get involved in the story I’m trying to tell! I think that’s similar for journalists or documentarians. You’re actively trying to avoid interfering in the story. But I think there’s an acknowledgement that even the depiction of the story changes the story. Julie’s character Grace changes behaviour because she’s being observed. All of us would. When you’re being reflected, it affects your identity. When someone’s watching what you’re doing, it affects your behaviour. Of course, Elizabeth goes much farther than that! It’s something I’m conscious of but try not to interfere with.”

Given the film is about the making of a film, Rolling Stone UK also asked Natalie and Julianne which of their old movies deserved the ‘making of’ treatment.

Annihilation I would say, for me,” said Natalie. “There were five women in a tent together. Very Red Tent moments of all of us just hanging, talking, and relating. There was all this weird fog everywhere. I was pregnant, but nobody knew, and I was shooting machine guns! There were a lot of secrets and drama!”

Julianne, meanwhile, selected 90s ensemble comedy-drama Short Cuts. “There were so many people [in it],” she said. “I remember […] I was supposed to be on a phone call, and I could hear everything on-set. I was plugged into the crew, and all the actors who were mic’d. People said outrageous things!”

May December is on Sky Cinema now.