Cory Michael Smith Brings the Awkwardness to Life in ‘May December’
May December crafts a wildly uneasy and twisted look at ambitious actress Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) as she aims to tell the story of married couple Grace (Julianne Moore) and Joe (Charles Melton). The more we learn about their story, the more we see how many people have been hurt by Grace’s actions. One casualty of her “love story” with Joe is her son Georgie (Gotham‘s Cory Michael Smith), who was a childhood friend of Joe.
Georgie and Joe were both 13 at the time of Grace’s affair with Joe (Grace was in her 30s) and Georgie still struggles with the aftermath of their affair and the implosion of his family. Though he isn’t on screen for very long, Georgie is one of the more fascinating characters to unpack in Todd Haynes’ deeply unsettling film. In talking with Smith, you can tell just how much love and care he put into his character, who is broken and stunted by Grace much in the same way that Joe has been. But Georgie hasn’t had the spotlight shined on him in the same way.
We talked about a great many things when it came to Georgie. From his first introduction (because … come on, Georgie singing in a bar in town is kind of iconic) to the feelings between Georgie and Joe. I wanted to know how the experience of making the film fed into Smith’s performance.
When both sides of Gracie’s family run into each other at a graduation dinner, the tension is almost unbearably high. You can see just how giddy Georgie is at the idea of this awkward energy eating everyone alive around him. I asked Cory Michael Smith about that scene in particular and crafting Georgie’s performance in that moment. While Georgie is far from the most important character in the scene, he remains incredibly arresting.
“I mean, it is just the most awkward thing,” he said. “And I just think that Georgie, I wanted him to feel the awkwardness of this and sort of like, ‘I do not want this to be happening, but also sort of like, this is awesome.’ Walking into that scene, I always kind of wanted him to look like you don’t know whether he is stifling a laugh or actually just in immense dread because it’s the most awkward.”
You can see our full chat here:
May December is streaming on Netflix now.
(featured image: Netflix)
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