Before Midnight is the third movie about Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), and takes place 23 years after the first one (Before Sunrise) and 15 years after the second (Before Sunset). All three films were written and directed by Richard Linklater. For Before Midnight and Before Sunset, Delpy and Hawke joined Linklater as co-writers. All three came in to NPR West to talk with Fresh Air Host Terry Gross about the popular trilogy. (Heads up: The interview contains mild spoilers, but nothing you don't know if you've seen the trailer.)
During the interview with Gross, Hawke says that while people think of this movie as much darker than the others (they're at a tense moment in their relationship), all three agree that it's an honest look at the good and the bad consequences of choices we make. Linklater, Hawke and Delpy talk about the pressure and satisfaction of shooting a continuous 13-minute shot, and how they want it to make the audience feel as if we've dropped in on their lives already in progress.
Linklater opens up about the woman Before Sunrise is loosely based on, and how she still influences the movies decades later, even though they didn't keep in touch all that often. And of course they (sort of) answer the question: will there be more Before movies?
While they were at NPR, it was fun to see these three interact with each other in person. I was in the studio before the interview started when the engineer was getting microphone levels. Often an engineer or the host will ask a general question to get the guest talking, such as, "What did you have for breakfast today?" But Delpy and Hawke both sang to test their levels.
And on the way out, when I asked if they'd pose for us and handed them each three cards to choose from, they got in a circle, held out the cards, discussed who was wearing what, and which card would go best with which outfit. It was a great little illustration of what three decades of teamwork looks like.
Having figured it all out, and after Hawke said incredulously about my camera "Is that FILM?!" (It's not, but hey NPR, maybe it's time to get me a newer camera?!), all three of them showed a little love for NPR...before leaving.