Few films at Cannes this year have indie pedigree and star power behind them like “May December,” Todd Haynes’ examination of a cross-generational couple who caused a tabloid scandal and the actress studying their family to portray the woman in a forthcoming movie about their lives. Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman lead the way, but the project is a significant launchpad for “Riverdale” alum Charles Melton. Playing opposite Moore as a character who’s about to become an empty nester at 35, Melton dishes about his Cannes debut and walking dogs before he hit stardom.
Will this be your first Cannes? This will be my first film festival. I’m so excited to reunite with Julie and Natalie and Todd Haynes and everyone that was a part of making the film. I’m grinning from ear to ear right now.
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What’s the relationship dynamic between you and Julianne in this film? It’s this complex, compounded, voyeuristic experience of the human condition. We really get a lens into our characters Joe and Gracie. They’ve been in an unconventional relationship for a very long time, and the arrival of Natalie’s character serves as a catalyst for certain awakenings.
Your character is father to almost-adult children. How did you prepare? I asked my parents what it was like when I left the house, what kind of conversations they had in their own relationship. They said they were very sad. My mother is Korean, and I’m first generation on my mother’s side. She cooked every meal for me growing up. My dad was really good at letting go — at trusting that this new chapter would work out for the best.
What made you chase acting as a career? Being an Army brat, my father and I used to go to the movies every Friday. That helped inform this curiosity in me to be a part of storytelling. Also, always having to assimilate and adapt from one place to the next. In a way, it felt like hitting a refresh button. Like, “What character am I going to be here?”
“Riverdale” is about to end after seven seasons. Anything you won’t miss? Having to be shirtless and camera-ready is something I’m excited to let go.
Is it true you were a dog walker for the app Wag before you made it? That is very true. My favorite part about walking dogs was the reviews I would give on the experience I had. There was no character limit, so I wrote pages about these dogs. I wrote about them as if they were my everyday friends. There was a dog named Carrot, and I wrote, “Carrot is so in tune with who he is. He’s so present. He loves flowers. He’s always engaged with me and looking directly at me. But tell you what: Any time a poodle or small dog walks by? Carrot loses his mind.”
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