With 2013 marking nine years since the release of Before Sunset, one of cinema’s best ever sequels that itself was set and released nine years after Before Sunrise, there’s been much anticipation that Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater might be ready to deliver us the next chapter in Jesse and Celine’s unlikely love story.
Speaking to French outlet Allocine, Hawke confirmed that the threequel might shoot next year;
“Well, I don’t know what we’re going to do but I know the three of us have been talking a lot in the last six months,” Hawke revealed. “All of three of us have been having similar feelings that we’re ready to revisit those characters. There’s nine years between the first two movies and, if we made the film next summer, it would be nine years again so we’re really started thinking that would be a good thing to do. We’re going to try write it this year.”
With only one month and change left of the year, is that even possible that the script could be completed in time to shoot next summer? Actually, yes. Linklater/Delpy/Hawke are known to have made the two films, especially the sequel, somewhat ad-libbed (think Curb Your Enthusiasm) after they have structured the major points of where the films go and with Before Sunset only running 80 minutes in length, it’s not like 500 pages of dialogue are required from Linklater.
With the director finishing up his next film Bernie and Ethan Hawke recently wrapping his work on Total Recall remake, the star seem to be aligning for the three to make the movie next summer.
I’m sure you don’t need reminding (spoilers here) but director Richard Linklater’s experimental low-budget Before Sunrise followed an American tourist (Jesse) who met cute with a French student (Celine) on a train heading to Paris but whose connection was so strong, after only minutes of knowing each other they decided to jump off early and spend the day together in Venice.
What followed was a masterful film where we basically hung out with two interesting young people as they walked around one of Europe’s great cities discussing, openly and intelligently, sexuality, philosophy, social and cultural issues and more, all the while falling in love, seemingly finding their soul mate.
But is that even possible in 24 hours? With Jesse needing to catch a plane back home and not wanting to let their connection ‘fizzle out’ over letters and phone calls they come up with a plan to meet each other at the Venice train station in exactly six months to the day if their feelings for each other are genuine and they still felt the same way… a perfect ending for the film, leaving it open to us as to whether they ever did see each other again.
Well leaving it open for nearly a decade anyway. The film became a cult hit, specifically with young adults and the student crowd and nine years later (no doubt helped by being shown in film schools for it’s direction and screenplay), director Richard Linklater did the unexpected and made the sequel telling us specifically what did happen. Finally he was to answer the question of did they or didn’t they?
Released in 2004, for many Before Sunset is even better than the original, and was certainly more ambitiously shot with less takes and obviously had unbelievable pressure from those who loved the simple story of the original to at least not disrespect it. We shouldn’t have been worried, Linklater didn’t let anyone down by catching up with the two characters who were now more sympathetic than before, had both now lived a life, and were hurt and broken people who were desperately unhappy and were now given this second chance of making it work. This time instead of Jesse rushing off to catch a plane back home (where he now has a kid he adores but is in a marriage he isn’t happy with), the film ended with this;
Celine: Baby, you are gonna miss that plane.
Jesse: I know.
Again Linklater ended on a cliffhanger…
Will After Sunset or After Sunrise (or whatever it ends up being called) answer those questions in 2013? Let’s hope so…
Meanwhile, Hawke who has worked with Linklater on half a dozen movies in his career already, says there’s still a few more years left of Boyhood, the nearly decade in length shot movie where Linklater has got together the same group of actors (including Hawke) to shoot short segments annually for a portrait of growing up and “a movie about childhood”;
… we’ve been making a short film once a year for nine years and it follows the life of a little boy from the time he’s six to his eighteen. We have a few more years to go but we’re almost done with it. I play his father, the little kid’s the lead of the movie. It’s a movie about time. You’ll watch us all age in the movie, it’s about growing up — I can’t wait for people to see it.”
This article was first posted on November 21, 2011