[ACTRESS, SCREENWRITER, DIRECTOR]
American kid culture
The connotations of an argument conducted in French
The extent of Woody Allen’s influence
Jean-Luc Godard first cast Julie Delpy in 1985, at age fourteen, in Détective, but many film-goers first met her in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s White as the nasty Parisienne hairdresser who turns soft behind prison bars with her unforgettable pantomime. Others met Delpy as Ethan Hawke’s neurotic object of desire in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (for which she was an Academy Award–nominated screenwriter) or, most recently, in her disarming comedy, 2 Days in Paris, in which she starred, and which she also scored and directed.
I talked to Delpy by phone from Paris, where she is doing postproduction on her new film, The Countess, out in 2009. The interview took place over the course of a few weeks, in French and English. At the time of the interview, Delpy was pregnant with a boy, and our conversation was often punctuated, and occasionally cut short, by contractions.
THE BELIEVER: I think it’s fascinating that only 7 percent of directors working on the highest-grossing films are women. It’s something that we can’t overlook when we think about you. How do you see yourself in the lineage of women filmmakers?
JULIE DELPY: Well, I don’t like to include myself in any group of any kind. I think it’s good and I totally support other women filmmakers. I think it’s more important that more women become directors. It’s just the nature of the business. I have to tell you how long it took me do my first film; it’s almost a joke. Even now I’m struggling to make my other films. I’m certain if I were a man, my life would be extremely different as a director. I would be making anything I want. I know this for a fact, because I have sent screenplays to people, to big companies, with a made-up guy’s name. And the response was very different.
BLVR: Like being George Sand.
JD: We’re still there. That’s the fucking problem. It’s a little less, and you can now make movies as a woman director, but it’s going to be ten times harder. There’s no doubt about it. A lot of people have doubts. It amazes me how when people read my scripts, like 2 Days in Paris, they were surprised. They were actually scared of the humor because it was not, uh, “cute,” and they expect a woman to be cutesy in some way.
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