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Julie Delpy Says She Turned Down Fourth ‘Before’ Movie While Considering Retirement

“I often think about it,” Delpy said of leaving the industry, although she's sticking around for now.

BEFORE SUNRISE, from left: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, 1995, © Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

“Before Sunrise”

©Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Ethan Hawke revealed to IndieWire last year during the pandemic that a fourth “Before” movie was being discussed with director/writer Richard Linklater and actress/writer Julie Delpy. Now comes word from Delpy in an interview with Telerama (via The Playlist) that she turned down a fourth “Before” movie sometime within the last year and a half while contemplating retirement because she’s fed up with the film industry.

“I often think about it,” Delpy said about leaving the industry. “A year and a half ago, I was not far from it. The hell I went through to produce my film [‘My Zoe’] had exhausted me. I said no to Richard Linklater for the fourth part of the ‘Before’ films. I thought that maybe I could go back to school. I would make a very good doctor, for example. You give me three symptoms, and I tell you what you are suffering from…But I like to create, to tell stories; it’s stronger than me.”

Delpy is not retiring, but she’s still struggling to get her projects off the ground. One such movie is “A Dazzling Display of Splendor.” Not even a high-profile “Game of Thrones” actress is enough to guarantee momentum, as Delpy explained.

“I have a wonderful screenplay, ‘A Dazzling Display of Splendor,’ about the pioneers of Hollywood. One of the best I’ve written. A talented and well-known English actress, Emilia Clarke, is attached to the project. And yet, I’m still struggling. Nonstop. I have so many movies in my drawers that will never be shot, if you only knew! I’m fed up.”

All three “Before” films are set and have been released nine years after the previous entry, which means a fourth “Before” film would have to arrive in 2022 to stick to the schedule. Hawke told IndieWire last year a fourth “Before” movie would blow up the existing timeline, which means any sequel would most likely come far after 2022.

“If the first three were all nine years apart, the fourth would not follow that trajectory,” Hawke said. “Linklater would want a different path, either a short film set four years after ‘Midnight’ or a feature two decades in the future. We think about it. Those are the three best experiences of my life: ‘Before Sunrise,’ ‘Before Sunset,’ and ‘Before Midnight.’ They are a part of me. So the idea of revisiting it, I would have to believe we could make something as good.”

Hawke continued, “Those movies worked because all three of us were making the same exact movie every time. When people make sequels just to be together…like Burt Reynolds just made sequels to party with those friends. They could make a million ‘Cannonball’ movies. You could tell they were having a great time. I don’t know if the audience was. We enjoy working together and being together, but we have to make sure we have something to say.”

Without Delpy, it’s unlikely a fourth “Before” movie gets made. Unless she changes her mind someday.

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