Be­fore Midnight

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

LUCK­ILY, Julie Delpy has a great sense of hu­mour and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to win. If not, says the French­woman, “I would have been dead 20 times al­ready, just by what I went through”.

By “dead”, Delpy means her movie ca­reer would have been over.

And by “what I went through” she’s re­fer­ring to the “non- stop” bull­dust she’s had to put up with as a woman try­ing to write and di­rect films.

“If I told you, it would be too much,” the 43- year- old says.

“So it’s bet­ter not to tell. The things I’ve heard, the things that were said to me – un­be­liev­able. If you put it in a movie, peo­ple would say it was over the top.”

The star of the Three Colours tril­ogy and writer- di­rec­tor of re­la­tion­ship come­dies 2 Days in Paris and 2 Days in New York may think it wise to keep her sto­ries to her­self, but over the course of a chat, a few tum­ble out.

Like the time, early in her ca­reer, when she was called “crazy” by a man in the in­dus­try “be­cause I re­fused to have sex with him, ba­si­cally”.

Or like the time, as a 20- year- old, she showed her writ­ing to play­wright Sam Shep­ard while they were shoot­ing a film to­gether.

“I read one line of dia­logue to Sam and he said to me, I al­ways re­mem­ber: ‘ Please sweetie, you’re very pretty, never, ever write. Women should not be writ­ing.’

“I was like, ‘ What a pr---’,” Delpy re­calls, break­ing into laugh­ter.

But for ev­ery Sam Shep­ard there have been far more sup­port­ive co- work­ers, such as those she fell in with a few years later on a film called Be­fore Sun­rise.

The 1995 ro­mance saw Delpy star as Ce­line, a young French stu­dent who meets Amer­i­can tourist Jesse ( Ethan Hawke) on a train.

Jesse con­vinces Ce­line to get off the train with him in Vi­enna and they walk and talk the whole night through.

So fruit­ful was Delpy’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hawke and writer- di­rec­tor Richard Lin­klater that they have since re­united to bring Ce­line and Jesse back to life twice: in 2004’ s Be­fore Sun­set and now in Be­fore Midnight.

In the third in­stal­ment, Ce­line and Jesse bicker ( mar­vel­lously) like an old mar­ried cou­ple as the strug­gles of main­tain­ing long- term love encroach on their hol­i­day in Greece.

But per­haps more im­por­tantly, Sun­rise cat­a­pulted Delpy, who had been writ­ing sto­ries since she was nine and had stud­ied to be a di­rec­tor in her early 20s, into fi­nally get­ting her own projects off the ground.

“Richard wanted two young ac­tors who were also go­ing to be part of the screen­play process,” Delpy ex­plains.

But, due to le­gal is­sues, she and Hawke were not cred­ited as writ­ers on the first film.

On the up side, “I was happy that my writ­ing was ex­posed with­out me be­ing ex­posed,” Delpy says.

Now, mother- of- one Delpy is in­spired to do some­thing big or, more to the point, some­thing out of the or­di­nary.

Af­ter all, as a nine- year- old she was writ­ing sci- fi and hor­ror sto­ries, not the “char­ac­ter­driven come­dies” for which she has be­come known.

She has a pe­riod- piece ad­ven­ture in the works and is also look­ing into do­ing a campy thriller.

“I don’t love to do what’s ex­pected of me,” Delpy says.

BE­FORE MIDNIGHT Now show­ing State Cin­ema

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