Last night, Sony Pictures Classics hosted a special screening of Before Midnight at the Crosby Hotel on Tuesday night and usedview.com was on the scene. Director Richard Linklater and stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke hit up the red carpet alongside film’s finest including Girls‘ Alex Karpovsky, Bennett Miller, Parker Posey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ari Graynor, John Cameron Mitchell, Alex Gibney, Shari Springer Berman, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, David Rasche, Ben Shenkman, Judd Hirsch, Francie Swift, Hale Appleman, Leslye Headland and more.
The film’s producers Christos Konstantakopolous and Sara Woodhatch and executive producer Jacob Pechenik were also in attendance.
Before Midnight picks up nine years after Before Sunset and 18 years after Before Sunrise first charmed theatergoers back in 1995. The latest film follows Jesse and Celine, who are in their forties and finally together, as they navigate the struggles and responsibilities of life and how things have changed. We got a chance to speak with the two stars and director about the collaborative process, these last 18 years and whether there will be a fourth film in 2022.
Can you talk a little bit about the collaborative process?
Richard Linklater: It’s really unique. I don’t think there’s anything else like it at all. Actors contribute sometimes, but when people see actors’ names as screenwriters, it kinda throws them for a loop. They think, ‘Oh, did they just write their characters,’ but the truth is, the three of us were all working on the big picture. That’s how it’s been for the last two films especially.
Ethan Hawke: It’s very common for directors to ask you to be part of their vision, but very rarely do they say ‘I want this to be our vision.’ No one’s ever asked me to do that before.
Julie Delpy: We tease each other for about 90 percent of the time. We make jokes and then out of all that, we brainstorm and then we come up with a lot of stuff, like is this relevant, is this an interesting subject matter, how does it involve? Because the screenplays don’t have a story like a usual film, it’s very subtle and it’s all character and dialogue driven so you have to find the exact way. It’s like sowing lace basically.
What attracted you to the first film all those years ago?
Hawke: Richard. In that moment in time, Richard Linklater had made Slacker. It was the first movie by somebody of my generation which felt relevant, revolutionary and there was something about it that was new and subserve. And I had just seen Dazed and Confused, which is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I would have done anything to be honest. I just wanted to work with him.
How do you think you’ve grown as a director since the first film?
Linklater: I’m a little more experienced, and I have a little more confidence maybe, but still kind of bewildered and not really sure. Every film still seems really difficult to do. I don’t think I’ve grown that much. Am I any better? I don’t know. That’s a good question. It’s something you never think about.
What kind of impact did the first film have on you?
Hawke: I don’t think it’s any coincidence that when Julie and I finished Before Sunrise, we went on to start writing ourselves. The first movie had a major impact on us especially the way Rick encouraged us to use our own voices. It was an empowering experience for both of us.
Delpy: In the first film, we wrote a lot of it, but didn’t get credited, which was fine in a way because I was able to write, have my work judged without being exposed as a writer, which kind of opened me up to start writing and directing and doing other stuff as well, which I always wanted to do. I wrote my first screenplay at 16. But forget having the means to finance it at 16, especially as a woman in 80s. So anyway, I kind of gave up for awhile and then after Before Sunrise, it led me back into feeling more secure to write and that’s when I started writing. And very different things too because I didn’t want to write the same thing that we write for these films.
We’ve heard this film is a bit darker than the first two. Can you speak to the change in tone?
Linklater: It’s a deeper time in your life. In your 40s, you’ve been through more. It’s still romantic in a way, it’s just romance redefined.
Delpy: It’s been a very interesting work. We are doing 100 percent of this to be as genuine and true as possible. We’re not trying to please anyone and some people will think the characters are not as cute as they should be in the third one, but we’re trying to be as true as possible. It’s a great thing and feeling to work from a true place, not something that is superficial or fabricated.
Have you thought at all about a fourth film and what it might be called?
Linklater: At some point, we can start throwing in afters. It would be 2022. If we do stay true to that, they would be 50. I think if we’re all still alive and able and willing and if six years from now we start having ideas, I wouldn’t count it out. We never said this is the last one. But if this is the last one and it’s a trilogy, it’s a good one to go out on.
Following the screening Sony Pictures Classics hosted the After Party for “Before Midnight” at Willow Road.
Before Midnight opens in New York, LA and Austin on May 24, 2013
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Additional reporting by Alexandra Finkel