Interview: Buzz Uncut - Julie Delpy

Jule Delpy on Two Days In Paris

Hello Julie. How are you?

Busy! I’ve got a cold today and I woke up sweating last night. Maybe I have bird flu. How does that start?

Um, no idea. Aside from snuffles, you must be pretty pleased to have – deep breath - written, directed, edited, starred in and composed the music for Two Days In Paris?

I didn’t think of it as an achievement while I was doing the film: the process was hard work, but it was very fulfilling. It feels good to have the chance to do everything. And it was very complementary - editing your own story, adding the music. It all works together, so if you can do it yourself, it makes a lot of sense.

What was the inspiration for the movie?

I’ve had so many  other projects down the years that didn’t work out and a friend suggested doing something  very, very low budget and something that people knew me for, like a romantic comedy in Paris.  It worked, because after 20 years of writing screenplays, they gave me the money to make a film.

You’ve given your co-star Adam Goldberg most of the best lines in the film, which seems very generous.

In real life I’m closer to Adam’s character Jack and his neuroses than I am to my character Marion. She’s pretty fearless and outside of work I don’t like taking risks physically or emotionally. Jack is the central comic character in the film, he’s the fish out of water, whilst I’m the straight woman. He has that sad clown quality - the more you hit him, the funnier he looks.

What’s it like directing your own parents?

I loved it! They’re both mainly theatre actors and I wanted to give them a chance to do something else. It’s funny when people read the script, the first reaction was that my parents were evil and mean characters. I love movies though where people insult each other, but you feel there is so much love between them. It’s so much stronger than people going around saying, ‘Hi sweetie’.

When you meet people, do they assume you’ll be like Celine from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the beautiful, romantic, free-spirited Frenchwoman?

I don’t know if people identify me with Celine. Not necessarily. I don’t like to live in the past: I like to think of the future. I love those two films and with the second one I co-wrote it and I wrote and played some of the songs on the soundtrack. It’s good to move on. It’s like there are women who dwell on their ex-boyfriend who was the perfect man and who slipped away and there are those who say that the best is yet to come or is in the present. If you live in the past, it’s depressing.  As an actress I was depressed in my 20s, because I never quite fitted what people were looking for. I’m much happier now.

Do you find Paris a romantic city?

Yeah, I love Paris very much. It’s so much fun in the summer time, just walking around and seeing the city. It takes me a few days to adapt to the Parisian life when I haven’t been there for a while. It can be tough - the way people push you around and the fact that you can’t cross at zebra crossings, because the cars don’t stop, even if you are in the middle of the road.

How does it match up to your other home, Los Angeles?

LA is a tough city to live in. You see, driving makes me really angry. It changes my personality – I get road rage every day. I like public transport much more than driving and fortunately I live in a neighbourhood where you can walk around.  If I have to drive somewhere for a meeting, it drives me nuts.  I hate driving!

Given the type of independent films you act in and make, you’d have thought you’d be more at home in New York than LA…

The only thing I like about LA is that for the price of a studio in Paris, I have a house with a garden in LA. I can sit and write and paint and make music and it’s very peaceful. There’s lots of space between people. You don’t have to be filthy rich in LA to have a good life.”

Is writing your own scripts the best way of ensuring interesting roles for yourself?

Absolutely. I’m amazed at the stars who have development people writing screenplays for them.  I don’t have any of that. I’m a little fish - nobody cares about me!

LA is a tough city to live in. You see, driving makes me really angry. It changes my personality – I get road rage every day. I like public transport much more than driving and fortunately I live in a neighbourhood where you can walk around.  If I have to drive somewhere for a meeting, it drives me nuts.  I hate driving!