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'Before Midnight': Julie Delpy's 18 years with Ethan Hawke, Linklater

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Nearly 20 years after the release of Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back together for the third film in the series, Before Midnight. Already one of the most critically-lauded of the year, Midnight sees Jesse and Celine on vacation in Greece nine years after audiences last caught up with them in Paris for Before Sunset.

Digital Spy got on the phone with Before star and co-writer Delpy to discuss her experience across the three romantic dramas and the lessons she learned along the way...


On first impressions of Linklater and Hawke...
"Richard is very laid back and has been laid back for 20 years. He let Ethan and I go crazy. Ethan, the first impression I had I thought he was very sweet, cute and smart. It was surprising because you don't always meet smart actors in the world. You meet more as they get older, but you don't meet many smart 23-year-olds."

On what Before says about male-female relationships...
"I think men have a tendency to linger in the past. It's so much of a men writing thing, lingering in the past. I feel like women have to go forward otherwise they get beaten up!"

On preferring Before's scenes of conflict over those of romance...
"I like the fighting scenes because it goes through a lot and it's also funny, which is good. It goes to a lot of dark places at times and it's also not too cute. She's not cute, she doesn't let go because she knows if she does she's going to lose. If I bump into a guy and he tells me Celine is a real bitch I'll say, 'You've never been with a woman who's said no to you. Good for you!'"

Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delpy as Celine in 'Before Sunrise'

© Rex Features / Everett Collection

Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delpy as Celine in 'Before Sunrise'



On how Linklater offered "validation" for her filmmaking ambitions...
"What have I learned from Richard? I would say the first thing that I'm thankful for is letting me write on Before Sunrise. We didn't get credited but we did write so much of it - I'd say 90% of it was changed from the original screenplay.

"When it was well-received I felt it validated my writing. I had done tonnes of writing before and written screenplays, I was very insecure and it allowed me to feel very secure. That was a big deal. Often I would write things and people would say, 'These people talk too much'.

"When this film was made, specific scenes I'd written were getting praised. It validated my work without me having to expose myself. It allowed me to keep on writing in a way."

On favourite Before scenes she penned...
"In the first film I wrote that scene about the phone call to the friend in the cafe. In the second one the ending bit with the Nina Simone song. We really work together 100% collaboratively - there'll be one line by me, one by Richard, one by Ethan in the same monologue."



On whether or not there'll be a fourth Before film...
"I have no idea. Truly when we started doing this one I thought, 'Oh no, not again!' It's very draining, it's a lot of introspection. Even though those films are not at all autobiographical you have to write emotions that are real. The acting is extremely difficult because of that super-naturalistic style, shot in 15 days - you have no margin for error.

"It's because we've done it for so many years now, but I swear to God put any actor in this for 15 days and you want to shoot yourself! I don't know if I want to do it again - it's too stressful!"

Before Midnight will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 28.

Photo gallery - Before Midnight in pictures:

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