Korean American actor Charles Melton is being praised for his performance in Netflix’s film May December.
Melton is known for his work on the CW’s popular television show Riverdale. His performance in May December could change the trajectory of his career.
The film, directed by Todd Haynes, follows actor Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) who travels to Savannah, Georgia, to research a role in a movie about an affair between a 36-year-old woman named Gracie (Julian Moore) and her son’s 13-year-old classmate Joe (Melton).
Gracie serves prison-time after she is caught with Joe but the two marry after her release. May December explores the unraveling of their relationship spurred by Elizabeth’s presence.
While the film has not yet been released, Melton is already receiving praise from critics and journalists. In a profile of Melton for Vanity Fair, David Canfield described his performance as “Oscar-contending work.”
During the summer of 2022, Melton received a self-tape request from his team for May December.
“My heart dropped with excitement and that led to me self-taping for the next five days. I spent six hours every day just trying to get that one tape, completely exhausting myself, and that was the start of the journey of preparation because I felt immediately connected to the story of Joe and what he represented—just the complexity that he had, staying with that for almost six weeks before I found out that I booked the role,” he told Vanity Fair.
In an interview with the The New York Times, Melton admitted he felt pressure to do well. He spent hours working with his acting coach and therapist to prepare for the role.
“I definitely felt a pressure within myself: ‘Can I go there? Can I do this?’” he said. “‘I believe I can, but I don’t know what it looks like, so let me do everything underneath the sun to try to figure out what that is.’”
May December will be available for streaming on Netflix this Friday, December 1.
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