Writer, director and actress Julie Delpy learned her craft from watching her actor parents Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet.
“I’d seen them on stage before I could even speak,” she says.
So it was natural that, when she wrote and directed 2007 comedy 2 Days In Paris, she cast them as her artist character Marion’s on-screen parents.
The plan was, that they’d return to their roles for the sequel, 2 Days In New York, but Pillet passed away in 2009. Unable to see how she could carry on with the project, Delpy initially scrapped the idea all together.
Eventually, though, she became inspired to start again, knowing her mother had always wanted her to make the film.
“In a way it was an homage,” she says. “So I went back to zero and threw away the original script. I went back to writing something where I talk about the loss, without making it melodramatic. I know people love melodrama but I didn’t want to do that out of respect.”
Delpy says it would have felt “disgusting” to play too heavily on her mother’s death, but found it helpful to pay tribute to her through comedy.
“You never recover from losing a parent. I went through hell myself, but I would never expose that in the film.”
Delpy has been acting since she was 14, when Jean-Luc Godard cast her in his crime thriller Detective, in 1985. She is probably most famous for co-tarring opposite Ethan Hawke in the cult romantic drama Before Sunrise and its sequel Before Sunset
As her career progressed, she began writing and directing her own movies, and now lives in Hollywood with her three-year-old son and German film score composer Marc Streitenfeld. 2 Days In New York is a hilarious comedy, fresh with the realities of modern life.
Having split up with Jack (who was played by Adam Goldberg), her partner in the first film and father of her child, Marion is living in New York with her young son and boyfriend Mingus, played by Chris Rock, who’s decided to sell her soul to the highest bidder to help get publicity for her latest exhibition.
Marion’s father and sister are visiting from France for the dramatic soul auction, and Mingus is preparing to meet the family.
On set, Rock was in much the same boat as Mingus, preparing to meet Delpy’s real father, who reprises the role of Marion’s dad, and her real-life best friend Alexia Landeau, who plays Marion’s sister.
And just like Mingus, Rock doesn’t speak a word of French.
“It wasn’t easy because of the language. I mean, it was funny sometimes,” Delpy recalls, laughing.
“Sometimes it was overwhelming because we would stop the take and I would talk to my dad in French but forget to translate to Chris, so he had no idea what we were doing. My dad was exactly the same with the English.”