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Julie Delpy Refused to Do ‘Before Midnight’ Until She Got Equal Pay to Ethan Hawke

Delpy tells Variety she did not receive equal pay on the "Before..." movies until the third one.

"Before Midnight"

“Before Midnight”

Sony Picture Classics

Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy is made up of three of the most critically acclaimed romance films ever made, but it appears the first two installments were made with a pay gap between leading actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Both performers acted in 1995’s “Before Sunrise” before appearing in and co-writing 2004’s “Before Sunset” and 2013’s “Before Midnight” with Linklater. Hawke, Delpy, and Linklater’s work on the two sequels received Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay. In a video interview with Variety from the Zurich Film Festival, Delpy reveals it wasn’t until “Before Midnight” that she received equal pay to Hawke.

“You know it’s funny. I spent my life being criticized for criticizing the fact there wasn’t enough women [in this industry],” Delpy told Variety writer Guy Lodge. “I was very outspoken all my life and it gave me the reputation of being a pain in the ass. I was raised by two feminists. I think of equality as something that should be a complete normal thing. I am completely behind #MeToo, Time’s Up, and all this. Everyone is talking about equality and we need to help women, but as a woman you know you’re being paid less as a writer, as a director, as an actress. On the ‘Before’ movies, the first movie I think I was paid maybe a tenth of what Ethan was paid. The second movie I was paid half. The third movie I said if I’m not paid the same I’m not doing it.”

Since the release of “Before Midnight” in 2013, fans of Linklater’s trilogy have been clamoring for news about whether or not the three collaborators will reunite for a fourth “Before” movie. Hawke shared with The Independent in August 2017 that he felt “Before Midnight” made the story of Jesse and Celine feel complete, although he was not ruling out a fourth installment.

“If it were to continue it would change shape,” Hawke said, “It would be something else. Julie, Rick and I might work together again, we might revisit those characters but it’ll need a new burst of energy. I don’t know what it is. We’re not allowed to think about it until five years after – that’s how we’ve done it every time. So we’re gonna meet five years after the release of ‘Before Midnight,’ talk about it and see where we wind up.”

Five years after “Before Midnight” was 2018, but so far there have not been any updates on a fourth “Before” movie. Delpy recently attended the Toronto International Film Festival to premiere her latest directorial effort, “My Zoe” (read IndieWire’s review here). The movie is currently seeking U.S. distribution. IndieWire has reached out to representatives for Hawke and Linklater for comment.

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