Before 4 | Julie Delpy turned Richard Linklater down

Before Midnight
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Richard Linklater wanted to get Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke back for a fourth Before movie – but it’s not to be.

Ask people to name a pretty much perfect movie trilogy, and Richard Linklater’s sublime Before… series of films surely comes near the top of the list.

Crikey, re-reading that opening sentence and it’s as if it’s been churned out of an AI machine. I’ll try again.

Before Sunrise is a brilliant film. Before Sunset is a brilliant film. Before Midnight is a brilliant film. Across a damn-near perfect movie trilogy, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have walked for miles in front of Richard Linklater’s camera, charting the story of a couple at different times of their lives.

The films respectively came out in 1995, 2003 and 2013, with – as you can probably deduce – a nine year gap between each. Julie Delpy plays Celine, Ethan Hawke plays Jesse, and there was speculation that 2022 would bring a Before 4, which it absolutely wouldn’t have been called.

It turns out that there was more to the story than just speculation. Director and co-writer Richard Linklater was very much open to the idea, and seemingly approached both Hawke and Delpy about reprising their roles. Julie Delpy, though, wasn’t keen.

Delpy has long built a directorial career of her own, most recently My Zoe. But the struggles to get films off the ground have left her disillusioned with the industry, to the point where she’s strongly considered jacking it all in.

Chatting to Telerame (via The Playlist) about the film A Dazzling Display Of Splendor, which she’s been trying to make with Emilia Clarke in the lead, Delpy reflected on how close she came to quitting.

“A year and a half ago, I was not far from it”, she admitted. “The hell I went through to produce my film 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”.

It’s the only time to my knowledge she’s openly admitted she was offered the film and turned it down, which suggests that unlike many other movie trilogies, the Before films will forever stay as three films. It’s a no-go for Before 4.

In the meantime, Delpy continues to push forward with A Dazzling Display Of Splendor, but still doesn’t have a start date for the movie. The battle goes on…

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