Striving to showcase the marital discord that plagues even strong relationships, Before Midnight, the third drama in writer-director Richard Linklater’s acclaimed romantic trilogy, emotionally emphasizes the content star-crossed lovers’ experience.
The filmmaker, along with his co-writers and stars of the movie, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, walked the red carpet for Before Midnight‘s New York premiere on April 22nd during the Tribeca Film Festival at the Borough of Manhattan Community College theater. While at the premiere, the three discussed the cracks within the facade of the seemingly perfect marriage between Hawke and Deply’s characters (Jesse and Celine), the future of the series, and how their own experiences crafted the characters.
Set nine years after the conclusion of the Academy Award-nominated second film in the series, Before Sunset, the anticipated second sequel follows Jesse and Celine, now married with twin girls, living in Paris. Jesse is struggling to maintain a relationship with his teenage son, Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), who is living in Chicago with his mother. After Hank spends the summer with his father and stepmother on a Greek island, Jesse finds himself struggling to find a way to keep in touch with his son. Unfortunately, he is also experiencing troubles with Celine, who is considering taking a job in government. Through their signature long walks together, the couple must find a way to not only infuse passion back into their marriage, but also find a peaceful way to raise their children together.
Delpy, who has a child with her partner, film score composer Marc Streitenfeld, discussed how being a mother herself prepared her to write and portray Celine’s maternal instinct:
“Well, I definitely know what I’m talking about, being a mother. But I would say Celine is very different from me, but I definitely have a sense of what it’s like to be a mother. But before I became a mother, I understood the maternal instinct, as I have so many mothers around me. There are so many friends of mine who are mothers. But it’s easier to write about it from life experience.”
The troubles Celine and Jesse are experiencing in their marriage and with raising their children can be relayed to the fact that there’s an underlying question if he cheated on his first wife to be with Celine after the events of Before Sunset. On the subject, Hawke said the following:
“This film is creating a situation that makes you think about the subject. What is fidelity, fidelity to yourself, fidelity to your past commitments, what does that mean? That’s what the movie is asking you to think about, not, did he?”
With the positive buzz Before Midnight has been receiving so far at the festival, Linklater, who called the film a “life project,” said there’s a possibility he’ll reunite with Hawke and Delpy for a fourth installment:
“There were threads to the others. We’re tying it, loosely, to the other two but it wasn’t a summation. People have different vibes, but it’s definitely not a final vibe, I don’t think. There might be another one, but who knows? At least we don’t have to think about it for five years.”
Before Midnight‘s shooting schedule did have a short turn-around last Summer, as Linklater notified the cast and crew three weeks before production began that they would be filming in Greece. After debuting to critical acclaim in January at the Sundance Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the American and U.K. rights to the movie, which is set to open on May 24, 2013 in limited release.