Actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter Julie Delpy excels at many things, but what she really wants to do is direct. She's acted on screen since the age of 14 when Jean-Luc Godard cast her in Détective (1985), but the transition to making movies didn't come easy. Only after scrounging for financing did she make her breakthrough indie hit, 2 Days in Paris (2007). She has since released a sequel, 2 Days in New York, in which she once again plays Marion, a woman much like Delpy herself, though more neurotic and less talented. A single mother with a new boyfriend (Chris Rock), Marion braces for the ultimate test: a visit from her family. I spoke with Delpy back in April, when she presented her film at the Independent Film Festival of Boston.
>> REVIEW: "2 Days in New York" by Peter Keough <<
YOU HAD A HARD TIME MAKING 2 DAYS IN PARIS IN 2007. WAS THIS EASIER? No, it was just as hard, believe it or not. We had other issues. We had more money, but one of the money providers didn't show up until two days before the shoot, so the film stopped and we put it on hold for two weeks, which was insane. I had to put in jeopardy my own company, which was basically all the money I've made for 25 years. It was just a nightmare.
SO EVEN WITH CHRIS ROCK IN THE CAST. We didn't raise the money under his name. I wanted to raise only European money to have the freedom of doing whatever I want. And so, freedom has a price, which is, like, a lot of stress.
I'M GLAD TO SEE THAT MAX [WHO PLAYS MARION'S CAT, JEAN-LUC] IS BACK. He's back. He's still alive. He's 17 years old. Also my dad, Albert [who plays her father], and other people I know. I could cast people you never see in movies. Which is so fun.
IS THE STORY ALSO DRAWN FROM YOUR LIFE, OR IS IT MOSTLY FICTITIOUS? There are elements of truth. The relationship with the dad kind of mirrors the relationship with my dad. One main thing that I put in the film which is personal is the death of my mother. I couldn't write the film without including it, though it's crazy to put something that personal in a film. But, in a way, because she was in the first film, and I wanted the film to be an homage to her; I wanted to put it in, but in a very subtle, poetic way. She was someone who loved life and was very funny, so I wanted to make a funny homage.
YOU MUST HAVE HAD A VERY STRESSFUL TIME BACK THEN, WHEN YOU HAD A CHILD AND YOUR MOTHER DIED. HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO MAKE TWO MOVIES [THE OTHER IS LE SKYLAB, NOT YET RELEASED IN THE US]? That helped me, to make those films. It's either you kill yourself or you go into depression or you do something with it.