Although the film screened last month at the Tribeca Film Festival, you can still listen to the full discussion with actress/writer/director Julie Delpy for free on iTunes HERE!
What I learned:
- Why make a sequel to an indie film: The film compliments the themes of 2 DAYS IN PARIS. In the first film, her romantic interest, Adam Goldberg, played sort of the “American in Paris” role to her French female protagonist, Marion. Delpy talks about how she wanted to show the effect of family (Marion’s) versus a new couple, Marion and Mingus (Chris Rock) with a more adult perspective. The sequel hilariously shows the flip side of what happens when the French show up on the American turf. As Delpy comments, these are the two sides of her: “It’s French-American, but it could be any culture.” I saw the film earlier in January at Sundance. I went in completely blind on this one. In the film, Delpy and Rock play Marion and Mingus who are dating, happily raising their children from previous relationships when Delpy’s family wreak havoc on them during their 48-hour visit from France. It was definitely a wild ride and a fitting continuation of its predecessor.
- Where did Chris Rock come from: I immediately was drawn into the film because…let’s face it…I wanted to see if Chris Rock had the indie chops. He does. Delpy was a fan of his standup and always wanted to work with him. She specifically wanted to offer him a role “very different from what he’s been given his whole life and does in his standup.” The funniest part of this part of the conversation came when the interviewer asked how Chris Rock finally ended up saying yes to the movie. Although they had mutual contacts in common, Delpy actually bought a year subscription to IMDBPro.com to look up his agent! She then pitched the script to his agent, asking would Rock be interested in an “indie French movie”. I remember cracking up at the Sundance screening when she said she was channeling her “inner Chris Rock” while rooting the script. Guess the casting was truly meant to be!
- Casting her dad to play “her dad”: Delpy breaks all of the cardinal film-school rules, but as only the best directors can. In both “2 DAYS” films, her father (a trained actor since the 60’s) plays her father. Her father speaks very little English, which really makes him perfect for the role. The films are minute-after-minute culture clashes in part due to this man. So, let’s adjust the rigid “Don’t cast your family” rule: If your family member’s a professional thespian, it would be a crime not to show him or her off in a few scenes.
- Her style: When the interview mention her’s films improvisational style, Delpy replied that on the set, she really likes it to feel”like no one is acting.” She mentioned similarly to other improv filmmakers (the Duplass Bros, Lynn Shelton) that the effortless feeling comes from a tight screenplay. She speaks about “everything being built then” and that in reality “99 percent of the time you can’t used the improvised stuff.” One of the many comedic talents of Delpy is her dialogue. The culture clash between the Americans and French is often heightened because not only are both parties speaking different languages, they’re not even really listening to each other. Delpy reveals that the overlapping dialogue many are a fan of is false. As much as she “loves the mayhem of people talking on top of each other” alas “when you’re shooting you can’t do that because you would not be able to edit the film.” So, perhaps a big kudos goes to Delpy’s editor because it’s pretty seamless on the big screen. And yes, even she sees the similarities to Woody Allen. They’re both neurotic triple threats and it’s worked wonderfully for their work thus far.
- The answer is in France: One of the most interesting tidbits from the interview was when Delpy admitted that while Hollywood may be behind the times (cue LA Times expose on White male over age 60 Academy members), today it’s actually easier to get film financing in France as a woman. In fact, all of Delpy’s films were European-financed. It looks like I’ll have to brush up on my French and start packing for the cinematic promised land across the pond.
“2 DAYS IN PARIS” is now streaming on Netflix. Hopefully that and this podcast will hold you over until “2 DAYS IN NEW YORK” makes a limited release on August 10, 2012 (according to IMDB.com).