About the Production
In BEFORE MIDNIGHT, "They're still talking, still making each other laugh" says
director Richard Linklater about Jesse and Celine, the couple chronicled in
Linklater's earlier films BEFORE SUNRISE (1995) and BEFORE SUNSET (2004).
"This time around, we thought the thing we really had to offer was brutal honesty
about long term commitments -- just how tough it is. All those little minefields. We
had to dig into more of a domestic front, so different from the brief encounter of
their twenties or the rediscovery in their thirties. It's not the same kind of romance,
yet we still think there's something special to this couple."
"We" is the trio who created Jesse and Celine in a remarkable, ongoing cinematic
collaboration: writer/director Linklater and writers/actors Julie Delpy and Ethan
Hawke. Linklater wrote the original, semi-autobiographical script (with Kim
Krizan); Delpy and Hawke, who portray Celine and Jesse, helped Linklater
deconstruct and revise the script, leavening the first film with their own dialogue
contributions and character insights. Since then, the three have regrouped -- every
seven or eight years or so -- to co-write and create the second and third films in the
"We've just kind of riffed together," says Hawke, "almost a little bit like a band, and
Julie and I play certain instruments in this band and Rick is the lead singer and he
calls us up every so often and asks us to play together."
Did they anticipate all along that their original indie effort would someday follow on
these characters as they evolved through life and love? "Of course not -- you couldn't
plan for such things," says Linklater. "You never know what's going to go on
creatively between people on a movie. It just so happens we had a really special
experience back in '94. We were just three people who felt like they still had
something to express via these characters."
"I don't think anybody could have imagined it," agrees Hawke. "But I knew when the
first film was over that I wanted to work with them again. It somehow accidentally
came together three times in a row. Every time I look back on it I don't really know
how it happened. I don't think we'd all return to each other if we didn't have a
tremendous amount of love for the whole project."
"We all go our separate ways" concurs Delpy. "but it's there in the back of our minds
for months and years -- and we think and think and think, and next thing you know
we're writing together again."
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