She’s been writing film scripts for 20 years, and I’m sure
every one of them is better that that for “The Invasion” or “The Nanny Diaries” or 90% of the other movies made these days.
She’s made films with some of the world’s best directors -- Jean-Luc Godard,
Leos Carax, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Richard Linklater. She’s got a degree from
NYU’s film school and has a dirty mind. So it’s hard to believe that in order
to make her first feature “2 Days in Paris”
Julie Delpy had to write, direct, edit, compose a soundtrack, tape
cables, reduce her co-producer to penury and
and put her ex-boyfriend, her parents and her cat in the cast. Is it
because she’s French? Because she’s a woman? Here’s her side of the story, the
first part of the transcript of the interview you can also find in “Backtalk”
in the next issue of the Phoenix.
PK: So how’s it going with the film? I’ve been looking at
the reviews. They all seem pretty positive.
JD: Yeah yeah overall very positive. So I’m happy. Some
people think you know… I’m just laughing at some reviews that say “Why did she
do everything?” I almost want to send them little emails and say “Hey, if I
didn’t do the editing there would be no movie” because we had zero money to
have an editor on the film. Basically it was either the editing bay or the
PK: Did you do costumes too? Because I know you like to design
JD: No I didn’t do costumes. But I had to do a lot of the
post production alone because there was no money to finish the film. So I had
to edit, put the editing bay in my house and do it like that. I had no choice.
PK: That’s quite an accomplishment.
JD: Oh thank you.
PK: So what do you say to people like Anthony Lane who say it’s not a vanity
project; it’s an insanity project. I’m not even sure what that means.
JD: No but you know what?
I read the article. It’s positive! On Rotten Tomatoes they put it as
rotten but it’s actually- I take it as a compliment. It’s almost like they just
read the first paragraph. I take it as a positive review that it’s insane. I
mean obviously the film’s insane. It’s supposed to be.
PK: Are you insane?
JD: I’m far from that. I can tell you that because to
produce and finish a film you have to be pretty together. But actually they say
in the article that it’s the opposite that my mind is less insane than anything
else. I wanted the film to be this wild very free movie in the limitation of
the budget I had.
PK: What was the budget?
JD: Truly in cash altogether we spent—I say five hundred but
it was probably more like four hundred
PK: Five hundred dollars? I could afford that
JD: (laughs) No four hundred thousand. That’s not very much
PK: Yeah that’s very cheap. That’s like the cost of a
commercial for any other movie coming out this summer.
JD: Yeah it was a very small budget which means that we had
no budget for a lot of things in post-production. Like editing, like we had no
budget for music of course. For example like I had to sing on the ending song
because it was a deal I made with the music company that if I sang on the
ending song they would pay for the songs in the film.
PK: Do you have any product placement in the film?
JD: Well we had to yeah. We have one because the other ones
wouldn’t give us money. Now they want the product placement but we took them
all out because when we were editing the film it didn’t seem like it was going
to be released anywhere because we were so broke. It was all those things that
we had filmed and edited into the film like [inaudible] and all that shit. Like
water, drink companies, mustard, this and that. And then they say we’re not
interested. So it was kind of a pleasure removing all those shots.
PK: That can be on the DVD right?
JD: Yeah. It’s quite hilarious, actually.
PK: The Product Placement Cut
JD: Yeah they were cut because they wouldn’t give us money.
And then they were so mad when they found out finally when the film came out in
and was doing really well that we had cut them out. I was, like, yeah, but
product placement, you need to give us money. If you had given us money we
could have hired an editor and a composer.
PK: Who was it that coughed up the money?
JD: I think we lost all our product placement money
actually. We never got it because they thought it was not going to go anywhere.
So we lost everything. There’s still one left in the film but they didn’t give
us money but we couldn’t cut it out. But it’s okay because you don’t even
notice it that much.
PK: Are you tired of being compared to Woody Allen?
JD: You know it’s not a bad comparison but I have to say I
know it’s going to backlash on me. Because I know a lot of people are fans of
Woody Allen and me first and I feel it’s not fair. And plus they compare it to “Annie
Hall.” You know I saw “Annie Hall” like ten years ago. When they mention Jack
Roberts or whatever it is…Jake Roberts or something which I guess is the
brother of Annie Hall in the film--
PK: Tony Roberts?
JD: I don’t even know the name. It’s crazy because I don’t
even know who it is. Now I know because people have explained it to me. I
haven’t seen the film in ten years. I don’t even remember a voice-over in the
film so it should tell you how little I tried to imitate Woody Allen or even
thought of Woody Allen. The Woody Allen films I watch regularly are like
“Bananas” and “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex” and “Love And Death.”
PK: The funny Woody Allen.
JD: Yeah the crazy kind of goofy ones.
PK: Did you meet him? You were both in the cast of
[Godard’s] “King Lear.” Is that correct?
JD: Yeah we never met. Godard was shooting in New York with him and we were shooting in Switzerland so
we never actually met.
PK: Is your cat named Jean Luc because he bears a
resemblance to the director?
JD: No but I always
thought it was funny and I could imagine she would call her cat Jean Luc
because she likes Godard films. That’s like very intellectual (laughs), but in
a funny way.
PK: The cat is terrific. I haven’t seen anybody else comment
on the cat really. He doesn’t have a lot to work with, though.
JD: He’s terrific.
PK: You still have the cat. Max, right?
JD: Yeah. He’s on the bed right now.
PK: He looks like my cat actually. A tuxedo cat
JD: Yeah a tuxedo cat. I love those cats. They’re so cute
PK: In working with an ex boyfriend… that seems to be a bit
of a tense situation.
JD: Tense. No no it’s a little funny at times like the male
side of the actor can come up and be like “Hey you’re telling me to do this and
that?”. Adam in a way just showed up twelve hours before we started shooting
and in a way it might have been a blessing because he was so exhausted he just
did what I said. The only danger that could be is that when you’ve been with
someone they start to act like an ex-boyfriend. We didn’t really have time for
that stuff. We were shooting so fast that we didn’t have time to do that stuff.
I mean, he’s Adam. I knew what to expect when he showed up in Paris. I knew there are certain things to
handle which the French crew couldn’t believe. Like I could put up with that
shit. But for me it’s like a certain kind of behavior you know of, like certain
actors in Hollywood and stuff that are used to being extremely pampered and
suddenly they come to a French set and it’s not at all the same. But it wasn’t
more than I expected. Just the regular stuff.
PK: So, he’s a little spoiled you’re saying?
JD: No, just the usual pampered thing. Which is no more…He
wanted a personal assistant so we got him one. It’s funny because Ethan [Hawke]
on “Before Sunset” didn’t get one you know and he was there for as long and
didn’t know Paris more than Adam. But you know that’s the way he is. I knew he
was going to be like that but what I cared about was his performance and that’s
all I care about in the end. The producer had to deal with his other issues.
PK: So you’re not the producer that deals with the other
JD: No. I told the producer I was like “You deal with that
stuff”. He wasn’t so bad. Like for example we had one trailer for everybody and
we had no choice. We had no money. The trailer, basically the producer had to
pay for it with his own pocket. And like his children don’t have clothes for
school this year.
PK: That’s terrible
JD:His wife was crying every day. It was really hard. I sold
everything I owned apart from my house because if I sold my house I’d kill
myself. It was like to finish the film I had to do everything you know. I don’t
have much money. I’ve been working on two films in the last four years and I’ve
made 60 thousand dollars.
PK: Well isn’t this one going to make a little bit of money
for you? It already has done well in France.
JD: Yeah I hope so. You never know. Everyone takes his
share. So far I haven’t seen a dime.
PK: That’s terrible.
JD: No no it’s okay. I will eventually see something. I
think so. Eventually with the DVD sale that should come eventually
PK: I think Adam Goldberg should be happy because he gets
some of the best lines in the movie. Was any of that improvised?
JD: There are a few of the lines that are improvised yeah.
But are they the best ones? I don’t know. Like which one do you really like?
PK: There are a lot of them under his breath. Like when he’s
talking about the tourists waiting at the taxi. Like in the beginning he sort
of like takes over with these asides and these
sotto voce kind of comments.
JD: For example that scene is entirely written. I mean there’s
a bunch of things that seem very improvised. But Adam is a very good actor. He
can take a line and make it its own which is pretty amazing. That’s what you
dream for in an actor.
NEXT: Why Delpy doesn’t read Proust, how she found out
Kieslowski was dead, and bathing in blood.