BEFORE MIDNIGHT Director Richard Linklater Discusses Collaborating Once Again with Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy

Before Midnight is an upcoming American romance drama starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and the sequel to the Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) films.


We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece, almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

At the Berlin International Film Festival, director Richard Linklater spoke with The Playlist about the film, which has been garnering consistent praise during its festival run that began at Sundance. He commented on the inclusion of long-take shots in the film, something that has become standardized in the series, in particular a scene that takes place during a car ride with Celine and Jesse:

"It’s one almost-14-minute shot. It’s a little perverse but I felt that was a good way to get reacquainted to the [characters], without cut-cut-cut-cut. You can look at either of them -- it’s classic Andre Bazin, mise en scene cinema theory. There’s something to that, I like that you could just hang out with them."

"It’s very difficult for the actors I think. It’s a tribute to Ethan and Julie, what good actors they are. It’s the kind of acting you don’t give awards to because people accept it as real, kind of like the apes at the beginning of '2001' -- they didn’t win best costume because they thought they were real. Julie and Ethan, people think it’s real, they think we just turn on a camera and we capture these dialogues. You know, "acting" is Daniel Day Lewis playing Lincoln -- that’s acting. And I’m not saying it isn’t, it’s good acting, but that’s seen at a different level, when it really isn’t. This is actually harder, I think."

It's not yet known whether a fourth installment of the franchise will ever happen, but if it does fans will expect it to follow the 9-year gap between stories -- an aspect the director says was accidental:

"You know, it just happened that way. We realized when we were shooting last summer it was also the same time period as between one and two -- it wasn’t a plan but now if there were ever to be another one, it would have to be in nine years. Also, who does nine years? It’s always ten or five...I told ['Berlinale' Director] Dieter Kosslick last night, 'I’ll see you in 2022.' And he’s like 'Oh, I won’t be alive then.'"

Richard Linklater’s BEFORE MIDNIGHT stars Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Ariane Labed, Athina Rachel Tsangari and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. Like BEFORE SUNSET, the third film is written by Academy Award nominees Linklater, Hawke and Delpy. Sony Pictures Classics has scheduled the film for limited release in Los Angeles and New York on May 24th, 2013.