To land a role in May-December, Charles Melton spent six hours recording himself on tape.
“I probably had seven days to make my self-tape, but I did it right away,” Melton said. “I talk to my trainer, watch movies, talk to my therapist about human emotions… I’m exhausted.”
The result is an understated performance that “feels like there’s more to it than just the lines I’m saying.”
Director Todd Haynes gave him a series of notes urging Melton to show more emotion “because I was showing almost nothing.”
Melton, usually animated (“I’m an expressive person. My eyebrows go up and down, and that’s not Joe. He doesn’t feel the freedom to do that”) corrected himself, providing a second tape , then flew to New York to read with Julianne Moore “It was the most magical experience.”
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Melton and Moore set out to explore the relationship between a couple she met when she was an adult and a couple he met when he was 13. They were together for 23 years and are the focus of an actress who is making a movie about the situation. She questioned the two about their relationship and tried to understand what might have triggered it and why they were still together.
As she gets to know Joe (played by Melton), she discovers that he raises monarch butterflies.
For the 33-year-old former “Riverdale” star, the analogy is important. “We find Joe in this cocoon at the beginning of the movie,” he said. “If you touch the cocoon, if it falls off, it’s completely ruined. “I relate Joe’s journey to the monarch’s metamorphosis to how nuanced that phase of his life was, where it was when it was taken away from him, and how that Link how it affects him as a person. “
Melton favored the description in the script: “He was like a painting of a Dutch aristocrat.” “It was very stoic and there was always something going on behind the eyes. “It was a great starting point for exploring Joe. “
Other scenes also aided the role and helped him receive critics’ awards and a Golden Globe nomination.
The key to understanding the man, he said, was the time he spent on the rooftop with his son, who was graduating from high school. The two smoked marijuana and “became vulnerable for the first time.” Melton shot the film, talked about the scene with a friend, and the next day, asked director Todd Haynes if he could try it again. “I was crying between takes, crying for Joe.” Haynes was also moved and agreed to take another shot. “Every time these cameras started rolling,” Melton said, “it was like there were no tears because Joe had to have it all together for some reason. And he didn’t know what he was holding in his hands. . “It was a really heartbreaking scene. “
Melton said the film gave him the opportunity to achieve more and to take on roles that were truly challenging for him.
“I felt really inspired and encouraged to dive in and do any research I could. “I really discovered my process along the way. “
While Melton doesn’t say he takes an approach at work (“I don’t believe in causing pain and suffering to people around me, especially in the workplace”), he does fulfill various aspects of the role at home. sides or just order over the phone.
This exploration taught him to look for parts that would challenge his abilities.
“I’ve always had that work ethic, but sometimes you don’t get the chance to go somewhere and disappear in a certain way.”
As a Korean American, he also wanted to tell “stories that transcended our race.” Joe is a man on the verge of discovering something he has suppressed for so long. He happens to be a Korean American. The story is not that he is a Korean American. The story goes like this: This is a man and this is what happened. “
MayDecember is now streaming on Netflix.
Bruce Miller is the editor of the Sioux City Journal.