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Interview with Julie Delpy

From "Before Sunset"

By

Julie Delpy Ethan Hawke

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in "Before Sunset"

Photo © Warner Independent Pictures
Even without seeing the first movie, "Before Sunrise," audiences should be able to understand "Before Sunset." Did you have conversations about making that a reality?
That was a challenge we weren’t sure we achieved…but we tried our best in the writing, acting and directing to make sure it was not just a sequel, but also a film. For the people who know the first film, it gives something else and for the people who don’t, it’s just a film like any other film.

How old were you when you first started writing?
I was 9 when I started writing short stories. I never pursued [it] in a commercial way of publishing or making money. Now I am more because I’m going to direct a film I wrote, so I’m more into it. I have to say doing “Before Sunrise,” the first film… I had written a script when I was 18 that a lot of people wanted to produce and a publisher wanted to publish as a book. I didn’t want to do that. I said no. I’ve written pages and pages of novels that I’ve erased from my computer – it’s really weird. Now I’m finally at peace with it and am able to put it out there. It’s taken me a long time.

I think “Before Sunrise” was the film that made me capable of writing again, because I quit for a few years, because we wrote some of the dialogue in the film and some of the scenes. To see, even if I didn’t get credited, but critics saying afterwards, “Oh I love that scene,” and I was like, “That was one I wrote or partly wrote,” it made me feel more comfortable with writing, so now I’m doing it. Now I’m afraid I’m going to have a block for a year after saying that.

Will you do another “Before” in nine years?
Well, we don’t want to do a sequel in nine years because we don’t want to have this mapped out pattern. If we feel like we really have something to say and people really want to hear something else, and explore and see more and go to other fields because we’d do something very different again, we will do it. But we’re not sure we’ll even do anything.

What’s the “Frankenstein” project you’re doing for television?
It’s a job I took right before this film and I’m there the first 10 minutes of the film so it’s a quick cameo…then I die. But it was very nice, lovely but it was basically a tiny cameo they asked me to do and I did it.

What’s the movie you wrote and hope to direct about?
Chris Hanley is producing – “American Psycho” – he’s a good indie producer and he optioned my film. It’s based on a true story based on Elizabeth Bathory who was a Hungarian countess in the 1600s. She became obsessed with eternal youth and started bathing in virgin’s blood. She killed about 400 girls. It sounds like a gothic [tale] but it’s more a drama. It’s more focusing on the psychology of human beings when they’re given power.

How did you find the story and why is it important for you to do it?
It’s a story I always heard of but never pursued before. Then I did historical research and I got fascinated by the story and the whole power trip around it. Yes, she might have killed all those people but maybe she might have not. That’s how I tell the story. At the time, the church and the people in power were trying to get rid of people they didn’t want – and that’s how I tell the story. That’s how the witches were burned and all that.

A lot of women were killed at the time because the men were busy at war - that’s all they knew [how] to do over three generations of wars - and they became less and less capable [of ruling] countries. The women started taking over in small castles – not the king or anything like that. In small areas, she’d rule the castle. The switching period is the Renaissance period when men realized they were losing control and that’s when the witch hunt thing started to get rid of women, more or less. Bathory might have been a victim to show to people that women cannot be powerful because they become crazy and kill people.

Why do you want to direct it?
I’m obsessed with certain traits of human nature. I’m obsessed with human beings, first of all, and the deepest qualities I explore in this film, [the] darker side and faults. Every character in the film has major, major flaws and terrible things they have about themselves. She is vain, obsessed with power, and cruel. One of the other characters is greedy, another is weak…I explore all the possible worst traits in human kind and I go very far with it. So it’s pretty dark. And I will play the leading role because I’m crazy.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Interview with Ethan Hawke
"Before Sunset" Photo Gallery
"Before Sunset" Credits, Trailer and Websites

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