Un-Rom-Un-Com; Before Next Time?
BEFORE MIDNIGHT ventures deeper into character drama and transcends the
expectations of any genre. "A lot of times when you see married life," notes Hawke,
"It's either some kind of cornball, whitewash thing where everybody's okay, or it's
heavy drama, alcohol and stress, they secretly hate each other and it's either too
white or too black. What's fun about this as a romance is that neither gender wins or
loses -- most romances seem to have either a female agenda, where the guys are all
dopes, or a masculine idea of what romantic love is supposed to look like, with Eva Mendes crawling across the floor in a bikini. What's so wonderful about these
movies is they're kind of genderless. Julie's voice and her artistry are so powerful in
the film. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's fun to make a romantic movie that I'm
not ashamed to ask my male friends to go see."
None of the filmmaking principals are coy about whether the story of Celine and
Jesse will wind on, because they seem sincerely not to know the answer. For one
thing: "It's grueling," says Hawke. "They don't come easy and they always are worth
it. It's difficult to write a movie as incredibly personal to three people, and the style
of acting that Rick is going after is a little merciless because if it's ever noticeable
that you're acting you've ruined the whole project."
Delpy too feels some dread: "It's not that we don't want to see each other or
something, it's really because of how hard it is. It's like, you forget after nine years
the pain, so it takes that long to forget the pain to go back through it."
"The audience feels like they know these people, and we start to feel we could let
people down and invariably we will," says Hawke. "Each time we go further on
down this path with these characters, people feel like they get to know them even
better. So it's possible to betray that. It's so difficult for Rick, Julie and I to continue
the story without the betraying our audience's interest and at the same time
remaining absolutely authentic and truthful to who they are."
As the linchpin who may or may not call the collaboration back to life once more,
Richard Linklater sees wide-open possibilities: "We'll just drift away from Jesse and
Celine for now, let them keep talking, and then we'll see. We'll go out on an
uncertain note... some people leave the movie and say, this is it, they've got
irreconcilable differences here, and I give them less than a year. And then other
people might think, you know they're going to make it, they're going to stick it out through thick and thin. Who knows?"
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