Charles Melton has been the talk of the town thanks to his recent role in May December. From guest starring in American Horror Stories to gaining stardom with his performance in Riverdale and working in action-packed films and romantic dramas, the 32-year-old actor has gathered diverse roles since his starting days. Melton’s performances over the years have shaped his capability to deliver an emotional performance through his work. 

After the release of May December on May 20, 2023, at the 76th Cannes Film Festival and on Netflix last December, the actor has received massive attention for his role as Joe Yoo. With a low voice and shy demeanor, Melton’s captivating performance left viewers stunned. If you’re interested in learning more about this breakout actor, here are five recommendations you can check out. 

May December (2023) 

Todd Hayes’ film May December, which is loosely based on the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal, stars well-known names like Natalie Portman, alongside Julianne Moore and Charles Melton, who portray Elizabeth Berry, Gracie Atherton, and Joe Yoo. 

May December explores Elizabeth’s journey as she tries to uncover and understand the truth behind the affair. She discovers Gracie and Joe’s complex personalities while she methodically crafts her portrayal of Gracie. The film, which gained attention and received a series of nominations at the Golden Globes, The Academy Awards, and The Critics Choice Awards, is a psychological drama that touches on heavy topics such as the complexity of guilt, selfishness, and power imbalances.

Melton’s portrayal of Joe offers a fresh and complete switch from the actor’s previous roles. He turned himself into a man with child-like behavior, achieving this by changing the tone of his voice, as well as adding several mannerisms and expressions of a teenager. In an interview with DAZED, Melton mentioned that for the role of Joe, he decided to focus on how trauma can impact your psyche and expression. “I also wanted to focus on the psychology of repression and how certain traumas can live within your body and how that would impact your physicality,” he told DAZED.

His incredible performance was the turning point in the film and gave him the opportunity to make a bigger name in the industry for himself. His portrayal of Joe in May December earned him several accolades in the category of “Best Supporting Role” at the Gotham Awards, National Society of Film Critics, and New York Film Critics Circle Awards. He was also nominated in the same category at the Golden Globes and at the Critics Choice Awards.

Riverdale (2017) 

Based on the comics series Archie’s Comics, Riverdale is a drama mystery series starring KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, and Charles Melton. The show follows the lives of the teens at Riverdale High School throughout adolescence and adulthood in the small town of Riverdale. Throughout seven seasons, the characters experience a series of life events, disappearances, murders, troubles, and fights against enemies and rivals around the town.

Charles Melton’s character Reggie is the typical jock football player at Riverdale High School. He’s sarcastic, selfish, and explores the town’s mysteries alongside his friends. However, Melton was not the first one to play Reggie. Ross Butler originated the role in season one, but due to a mixed schedule between his work on 13 Reasons Why during season two, Melton took over playing Reggie. 

The Sun is Also a Star (2019)

The Sun is Also a Star (2019) is a teen romance story based on a book of the same name by Nicola Yoon. The film features Natasha Kingsley (Yara Shahid) and Daniel Bae (Charles Melton), two teenagers who fall in love the day before their respective lives take a difficult turn. Together, they set off on a journey that explores relationships, family, self-discovery, and love.

The story not only focuses on the surprising bond between these two characters over a single day, but also depicts the challenges of immigration and deportation, given that Natasha’s family is dealing with the challenges of illegal immigration. Daniel, also goes on a journey as he seeks to find his place in the world despite his parents’ wishes. Despite the obstacles and trials, both characters endure in their personal lives, the duo starts to fall in love regardless of the low possibility of being together.

American Horror Stories (2021) 

Released in 2021, American Horror Stories is the spin-off of the renowned TV series American Horror Story, created by Ryan Murphy. In contrast to the original show where each season dives into a different genre of horror and story, this spin-off offers a new story every episode. 

In the episode “The Naughty List,” Charles Melton shines in his performance as Wyatt. The episode follows four troubled YouTube influencers with a channel called “The Bro House” where they upload prank videos. However, their popularity comes crashing down when they post a video of a man ending his life. After a series of failed attempts to regain their subscribers, the group films a video making fun of their local Santa. However, when they’re informed that the Santa actor is a dangerous impostor, a game of push and pull begins between them.

“Break Up With Your Girlfriend”  by Ariana Grande (2019) 

Despite this being a music video, Charles offered a captivating performance alongside Grammy winner and pop artist Ariana Grande for the last track in her 2019 album, thank u, next. The three-minute video explores Grande’s relationship with Melton’s character and his girlfriend portrayed by Ariel Yasmine, as Ariana feels deeply drawn to the couple. Still, she can’t be with either of them. At first, the story alludes to Grande being interested in Melton, and he is attracted to her even with his girlfriend by his side. However, the turning point of the video comes at the end, when Grande, instead of wanting to be with Melton, decides to be with Yasmine. 

Breaking The Mold With His Acting 

With the release of May December, Melton continues to showcase how ready he is to take on a challenge and experiment with roles and characters. As he admitted to Vanity Fair that he’s not trying to set any limits on himself when it comes to acting, it is refreshing to see an actor who’s seeking roles where he can dig into the emotions and humanity of his characters. In the meantime, be sure to keep up with his latest work by following him on Instagram.

Want more film recommendations from EnVi? Check out our piece on 9 Must Watch Asian Films About First Love here!