Hello everyone, Ethan here. I had a really great time last week, so I thought maybe I should come back and I'm with Rick and Julie to talk about the new movie or anything else, obviously. We shot a little video so you know it's us. Yes, that's the Mediterranean.

UPDATE: The sun is setting over the Mediterranean, so we are going to sign out and go for a swim. It's a shitty life, but somebody's gotta live it. Thank you all so much.

Comments: 456 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

Maddy_shak150 karma

Hello, thanks for doing this. So I've always wondered, did Jesse ever repay the bar owner in Vienna for the bottle of wine?

iamethanhawke233 karma

That is a great question. Here's the vote: Julie says no. Rick says I would like to think so - he THOUGHT about it, he wanted to. And I have the actual answer, which is (believe it or not), when he showed up six months later, while he was waiting for Celine, in hopes of good karma, he went over to that place and tried to pay the guy back but the guy didn't work there anymore, so he just left someone else a tip.

Pointer1VB55 karma

I'd imagine that when she didn't show up, he went back there and drank his sorrows away. It's also gut wrenching to think what he must have felt when getting back on a plane to the states.

iamethanhawke116 karma

I totally agree. It was a difficult scene to play, the opening scene of BEFORE SUNSET, because the character was feeling two things simultaneously; the first, he was elated to be seeing her, and the second, feeling the pain all over again.

joopius104 karma

Is there anyone in the world with a manlier name than Ethan Hawke?

iamethanhawke212 karma

I think Arnold Schwarzenegger comes close. His name always sounded like a Triple X pornstar to me.

RichardLinklater187 karma

You should now confess that your middle name is "Lily."

my_finances99 karma

How do these type of films make money without being shown at franchise theaters such as Icon and AMC?

RichardLinklater243 karma

Well, the truth is these films don't make that much money. We're the lowest-grossing trilogy of all time (we like to say that). That said, this one has been received so well that BEFORE MIDNIGHT is opening in more theaters this weekend than SUNRISE and SUNSET ever came CLOSE to - it's going to be in almost 900 theaters this weekend!

PeggyBball4284 karma

The car scene - all ONE take!!! A) AMAZING, Absolutely Amazing. & B) How many times did you almost get it & have to start over??

iamethanhawke184 karma

We did it for two days, we only had one take that was usable, and it was the last one, right as the light was leaving and the sun was going down. And Julie and I will be forever grateful for those little 8 year old girls, who remembered the last lines of the 14 minute take; as we got closer and closer to the end of that 14 minute take, I was worried they had fallen asleep but the kids came through big-time.

orangutansYO71 karma

how close are Celine & Jesse to your real-life personalities?

juliedelpy160 karma

She's much nicer than me. MUCH, much nicer than me. No, seriously, she's more normal... we have things in common, but I would say that she has many, many, many things very different from who I am, but it's kind of fun to write this character in character. I call it 'method writing.'

iamethanhawke139 karma

Sometimes I feel Julie and I have a parallel life, and each one of these films turns out to be a stop on a railway station. Or something like that. Where we're able to live this parallel life. Jesse is part me, part Rick, and part Julie. All three of us, as writers, have worked really hard to try to create a three dimensional character onscreen, a character where it's difficult to see where the actor ends and the character starts. That's always been our goal.

cluong469 karma

I have to ask: Who wrote the "Milkshake" poem from the first movie? How did that come to be? Thanks!

RichardLinklater103 karma

An Austin poet friend of mine named David Jewell, who's also in Waking Life.

iamethanhawke75 karma

That's a great question!

iamethanhawke155 karma

When I do interviews when Linklater is NOT here, I often claim credit for that poem.

slash19662 karma

So cool to see you three doing an AMA! I could ramble on for pages but I’ll keep my gushing concise:

I saw Before Midnight in a theater last week with my wife and we both found it tremendously moving, but also incredibly helpful to our relationship. We’ve always had a special biographical similarity with Jesse and Celine, and we’ve been going through a rough patch in our marriage due to life circumstances, career changes, and so forth. Seeing such similar experiences interpreted through these characters that we feel we know so well has been so helpful for us and means more than I can say, really.

I have two questions:

  1. Starting with Before Sunset, the relationship you three developed has been very different from the traditional fictional romance. It has always struck me as the most realistic depiction of a relationship, even in those blissful few hours of connection. But in the first two movies it was still largely a “feel-good” story. Were you worried about whether people would “get” the turn that Before Midnight takes, towards a much more painful and angry picture of this relationship?

  2. Help settle a bet between my wife and me: what about the implications of infidelity on the part of Jesse? Did he, didn’t he, or is it deliberately left ambiguous?

RichardLinklater72 karma

Just the fact that you and your wife relate and be moved by Jesse and Celine's situation - I think that's what we were going for.

RichardLinklater65 karma

It's a difficult time in a relationship to represent... and that was the biggest challenge on this movie, how to make the middle stage of a long-term relationship interesting and yet honest.

iamethanhawke79 karma

Most "romantic movies" have an obligation to try to please their audience. But it seems that the people who liked BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET, what they responded to was a level of honesty. And we felt we had an obligation to maintain that.

juliedelpy69 karma

Well, we wanted to be true to the characters. But I don't think this movie makes you feel bad, we're getting deeper into what a relationship is, and what happens when the love of your life, who many people can't end up with, you actually end up with that person.

juliedelpy65 karma

And in regards to question 2 - did she or didn't she?

iamethanhawke70 karma

What we were going for there, is that as Richard likes to say, "All relationships have fault lines." And when the so-called earthquake happens, those are places where they break.

RichardLinklater65 karma

And we felt that the reality we were trying to create could support and withstand something that's very real to a large percentage of long-term relationships. It has no place in fairy tales, but we thought it could have a place in this movie.

NationMcKinley62 karma

Hi, Julie! I just wanted I say that you are an incredibly huge inspiration to me (with the risk of sounding like the biggest dork right now). Maybe this might turn into a bunch of babble but I remember first watching ‘Before Sunrise’ in my high school’s film appreciation class when I was a 14 year old girl. Around the same time, ‘2 Days in Paris’ came out and I immediately fell in love with it, it changed my life forever. I always thought it was amazing how you wrote the script, wrote most of the music featured, directed, and starred in it. ‘The Countess’ was beautiful and absolutely blew my mind.

I really love the fact that the films you have written and directed are so different from each other but they are all very moving in their own way. Even when things got a bit hectic in my life, your movies and music were there as my comfort blanket. You have influenced me so much and expanded my interest in film, so much so that I’d like to pursue making movies eventually. The things you create are always amazing and you will forever encourage me to think, and open my eyes, and to keep writing and creating. Thank you for making movies that are refreshing and often times relatable. I hope we can see a new movie from you soon!

I guess I don’t actually have a question but just wanted to let you know that I think you’re the coolest person ever.

juliedelpy98 karma

Wow. Thanks for writing that Dad! Truly, that is the sweetest thing I've ever heard. For my film to make people want to make films themselves is the best compliment I can get.

iamethanhawke90 karma

There's a funny Tom Robbins quote where he says something like most people don't let themselves direct their own movie, let alone star in it, and when I read that I thought of Julie.

Julie gives herself permission to edit the film, do the music, direct it, star in it, and do the poster. And she takes the tickets too.

Richard just said that she's a female Charlie Chaplin.

moz_moz60 karma

Guys, thank you for these movies. Give us "Forever alone"s of Reddit a piece of advice please :)

iamethanhawke372 karma

I have to admit that I think it's kind of a mistake to think that it's that important to find a life partner. I think from the time that we're very young, we're fed this notion that we're supposed to be in this blissful, lifelong, monogamous relationship, and we believe it - and it makes us feel bad about ourselves whenever we fall short of that ideal. When in truth, I don't think any of us see that many blissful relationships that we would gladly change places with. I've always found that my relationships go about as well as my relationship with myself.

Biomancer50 karma

Hello to all three of you, and congratulations on the Before films. I haven't seen the third one yet, but the first two are probably my favourite series of all time. That said, I have a question about your thoughts on the overarching structure of the films.

Richard, you've worked on a number of other films, including Tape with Ethan, where the story takes place in accordance with the Aristotelian unities of drama (same place, same day, same action). You chose to do the same thing with the first two Before movies, which I thought added greatly to their charm. So it is very interesting to me that you chose to continue the series with films set at huge real-time intervals, which creates a sort of tension between the shape of each film and the shape of the series as a whole.

I was wondering if any of you could share your thoughts on the choice to focus on very brief time periods in single places as a way of telling a larger story that takes place across many cities and many years.

RichardLinklater78 karma

First off, I appreciate that Aristotelian reference. A lot of people don't get that, and I've been saying that for years - that it's the basic precept behind Greek drama. So it's ancient. When people ask "Well telling these stories over such a short period of time!" I say that it goes back a LONG way - there's nothing new there obviously. We didn't plan to do three of these, but there is a kind of cumulative power that happens when you drop in on Jesse and Celine for brief amounts of time over a lengthy period of time. But this process is ongoing - it wasn't ever really planned.

RichardLinklater61 karma

It's becoming our own longitudinal scientific study of a relationship.

awesomface44 karma

If you could ask reddit a question, what would you ask it?

iamethanhawke81 karma

God, that is such a good question.

Atticus_Flinch42 karma

Hey guys, thanks for doing this AMA! I just wanted to say, as an aspiring screenwriter, the first two Before movies are a giant inspiration to me. They’re nearly flawless films and I can’t wait for Before Midnight, I’ve been trying my best to avoid all spoilers until it comes out. My question is, what motivates you to do what you do; any advice on avoiding procrastination and actually getting out there and creating art?

juliedelpy80 karma

Just work work work! The advice is to be as true as possible, as genuine as possible. How do you create good work? By keeping on working - I've never learned how to write better than before I kept writing and writing and writing.

RichardLinklater128 karma

My advice would be to get your ass offline and get to work.

lookitzpancakes35 karma

It's amazing to have you on reddit - thanks for gracing us with your presence!! Ethan, because of your AMA a little while ago, I went and watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset...I haven't been that humbled, floored, and transformed by a film in a very long time. Thank you for that.

My question to the trio is: would you say that making these three films has changed you as people? Did the process of working through these heavily emotional, truthful, and intimate moments change the way you think about love and life in the real world? And, if so, how did it change you?

juliedelpy59 karma

Well, any process where you are deeply involved will have an affect on your life and your creative process. I learned a lot from the first film about being a part of the creative writing process, and it probably allowed me to feel comfortable, and the second film even more, and it made me Julie more able to get past my insecurities and do my own work.

RichardLinklater48 karma

It's interesting having this as the subject of a life project; you find yourself reading books or articles or scientific studies on relationships, it's an interesting subject to have in your life, to be constantly mining. So in that way, it definitely affects one.

Taikomochi35 karma

For Julie,

What was it like working with Krzysztof Kieslowski, if that's not too broad? I thought you were fabulous in White, and have always been fascinated by Kieslowski's methods.

juliedelpy64 karma

He was great, he was obsessed with details, he had a very different way of approaching character from the outside in, meaning not going into a kind of psychobabble bullshit about what the character feels but rather what the character is.

Pointer1VB23 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. Big fan of the Before movies and looking forward to seeing Midnight soon.

This question is for Ethan and Julie.

I heard you two played a big part in the dialogue of these movies, even receiving writing credit in two of them. I've also heard you both put a lot of yourselves into the characters and draw on personal events to fill in some of the back story and personalities. To what extent is this true and which of the three movies do you identify with most with the characters of Jesse and Celine?

Follow up question for Richard.

In Waking Life where Ethan and Julie are reprising the characters from Before Sunrise, was this supposed to be somewhat of a "what would happen if they both did meet up 6 months later" or were there other reasons to use those two characters in that scene?

iamethanhawke69 karma

I remember when Julie and I met at the screen test for BEFORE SUNRISE, Richard had been scouring NY, LA, all the usual suspects for who might be able to do this movie with him. I knew he was up to something special when he said that if he didn't find the right 2 people, he was not even to going make the movie...he had never been involved in any espionage, or helicopter machine gun fights, but his life had felt full of drama, and he wanted to make a movie about the most dramatic thing that ever happened to him, which was connecting with another human being, and he was going to need both the actors to give themselves entirely to the project so that that connection could be real. So when Julie and I arrived in Vienna, we began a process that continues through the third film, of creating these characters, and it's unlike any other experience I've ever had before, where over a period of 18 years, I've written 3 movies with my co-star.

Pointer1VB44 karma

After seeing the first movie, I wanted to get a passport, plane ticket, buy a Euro rail-pass, and just travel for a few weeks talking to random people.

iamethanhawke110 karma

You really should. When DEAD POETS SOCIETY was accepted into Cannes, Robert Sean Leonard and I went there a month early. We used our free ticket to Paris and left a month early, and kicked around for a month before the festival, and it was one of the best times of my life.

RichardLinklater68 karma

Well, that whole movie is a cinematic fever dream... some alternate reality. It wasn't six months later, it was five years later at the moment that we shot Waking Life, it was just the thought of when you create characters or characters in a fiction, that they sort of exist forever beyond the limits of the narrative that you place them in. That little reunion of the three of us is very special, however, because it brought the band back together. It was after those few days in Austin shooting Waking Life that Julie, Ethan and I looked at each other and said "We really should think about Celine and Jesse and what they're doing now." It kicked off the second film, in a way.

SWU_HOO21 karma


First off, I loved Before Midnight. By far it is the year's best film, and I have a feeling it might remain so for until December.

I was curious, how were all of you compelled to pick each landscape in all of your 'Before' films? Every one has a distinctive landscape that never faills to attract.

Hope all three of you continue in making awesome movies!

RichardLinklater33 karma

Well, the backdrop of the film becomes the third lead character. Although for us, it's always the last piece of the puzzle that we put together. I visited Greece in May of last year; I was on my way to a few other countries to look around. Two days in Greece convinced me to cancel the rest of the trip. It just seemed perfect; we had already found four of our major locations that would play in the movie, and it was very welcoming.

iamethanhawke40 karma

Also, there was an actress who was in SLACKER that richard had known for years who has now become a very powerful director herself; she directed a film called ATTENBERG (if anybody wants to check it out, it's damn good) and she made it possible for us to get deep inside the Greek film community. We had some of the best crew people I've ever worked with anywhere, including a phenomenal Greek DP, and another Greek producer, Christos Konstantakopoulos, who was a serious component of the film which drew us to Greece.

natethekiwi20 karma

Hi All,

First off, I would like thank Mr. Hawke for his first AMAA. It inspired me to write again, and not to give up on my craft.

Secondly, I would like to ask what it was like collaborating on the Before scripts together? Thoughts on writing by yourself and with others.

And lastly, for Mr. Linklater, I write screenplays, but I also like the idea of film-making. Is it advisable to do studies in film after my undergrad (not film related), or should I just pick up a camera and start shooting some of my shorts?



P.S. If it wasn't for Before Sunrise, I wouldn't have wanted to become a film-maker/writer. So my deepest thanks to all three of you!

RichardLinklater41 karma

Thanks a lot, glad you got the first 2 films.

Well, definitely pick up a camera and start making films. I think you have to be a student for life. You can become a filmmaker no matter what you study in college. In fact, I actually encourage people to study literature, philosophy, and anthropology... anything and everything and pick up filmmaking on their own. It all really comes down to being a storyteller, and having stories you feel passionate about telling.

iamethanhawke39 karma

Well, first of all, thank you, and I think the process of writing this BEFORE series is extremely mysterious to even the three of us. We're not really sure how it happens, and the more people ask questions about it as we do these publicity tours and things, the answer grows far away. We enjoy being together, and we push and tease one another, and I think that somehow we help encourage the best parts of each other and discourage the least interesting aspects of what the others have to offer (which in Richard Linklater's case is A LOT).

juliedelpy29 karma

It's like every creative process, how do you break it down, how do you explain it.

baconlover420 karma

what type of movies would u hope to be doing 5 years from now?

RichardLinklater126 karma

Well, Ethan hopes to be doing The Purge 7 so he can crank one out every six months.

thrawn_207119 karma

Thanks for being here! The ending of Before Sunset really stuck with me. I'm sure some were upset with such a cliffhanger, but I thought it was beautiful and absolutely perfect. How did the decision to end the movie this way come about?

RichardLinklater39 karma

Good endings usually come early. We had that at the outline phase.

iamethanhawke49 karma

Richard and I were working on the outline with Julie, and she started talking about how passionately she loved Nina Simone and kind of imitating her in concert, because neither Rick nor I had ever seen her. And Rick looked at me, and I knew that this was going to be the end of the movie.

iamethanhawke41 karma

(We listened to Nina Simone a lot while we were workshopping BEFORE SUNRISE, so it was a logical step for us)

supermav2717 karma

What's the best part of writing the movie? The drama, comedy, or romance?

juliedelpy40 karma

I would say it's mixing the three. That's the fun part. It's being able to make a film that's neither a comedy, neither a drama, neither just a romantic film, but all of it. You know?

TheRose8014 karma

I read an interview with Julie Delpy about making more Jesse and Celine movies together... if you guys would make a fourth, fifth one and/or more, any chance of getting them closer together or is the 9 year gap a staple now?

I've watched both Sunrise/Sunset as they came out and was extremely moved, no other set of characters has stuck with me so much over the years. Thank you so much for the beautiful work you all make.

RichardLinklater47 karma

Is this the time we confess that we're shooting one in secret in Strasbourg now to come out at Christmas?

juliedelpy43 karma

I think we like keeping our time. We can't go back to those characters because we're exhausted from making this film, so we usually take our time before going back. It takes us nine years to recover between each film.

TheHumanTornado13 karma

I just wanted to say Gattaca and Lord of War are my two of my favorite movies. Mr. Hawke, any plans on working with Andrew Niccol again in the future?

edit: Also Mr. Linklater - I've heard sporadic rumors for years that you'd be returning to Dazed and Confused for a follow up. Any truth to that?

iamethanhawke46 karma

Yes, I'm firing emails off to him today, because I'm extremely proud of both those films and he has another script that's on part with those and I really hope that he'll cast me. So if you could find him on Facebook or wherever possible and let him know that I'm better than those other hacks, that would be great.

RichardLinklater28 karma

Not Dazed specifically - I do have a college comedy that takes place in the early 80s that is for me, personally, a spiritual sequel to Dazed. But it wouldn't be featuring the Dazed cast, who are all 40-something now.

laurel1110 karma

Jesse and Celine have served as an amazing reflection of our lives over the last twenty years. I'd love to see them again but not sure the difference between forty and fifty is as striking. Will we have to wait until they are in their sixties or seventies to see them again?

RichardLinklater35 karma

we're just hoping to live that long!

elismartins4 karma

Which of you three is the most romantic? I must say I'm a fan of the first two films and Before Midnight will debut tomorrow here in Brazil, so I can't wait. Love you Julie and Ethan too! I think these friendship between you three wonderful!

[deleted]2 karma


juliedelpy20 karma