A scene from 2004's "Before Sunset" (Warner Home Video )
NEW YORK--Richard Linklater wasn’t so sure there needed to be a second film in his “Before” series starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. But he feels pretty good about a third entry, “Before Midnight,” which fans will be happy to know he’s finished shooting and will now set about editing.
The director, who has just returned from the film’s below-the-radar Greece shoot, said that the ending of the previous installment made this one a natural.
"With 'Before Sunset' I felt like me, Ethan and Julie were the only ones who really wanted it,” the director told The Times at an award-season event here this week for his recent black comedy "Bernie." “But given how 'Before Sunset' ended, a lot of people would come up to me and ask about what happens next."
The original “Before Sunrise” was an art-house hit in 1995, a key text in the slacker subgenre that has Hawke’s Jesse and Delpy’s Celine meeting on a train, then walking and talking around Vienna over the course of a 24-hour period.
Nine years later Linklater followed with "Before Sunset," in which the pair reunite for the first time in Paris as early thirtysomethings. Jesse, a novelist, is now married with a child, while Celine is an environmentalist in a troubled long-term relationship. The film ending leaves open what happens next.
Linklater said the new film will imagine their latest reunion, this time in Greece, where they’re now at a different stage of life: in their early 40s. (Linklater, who made the first movie while in his early 30s, has moved steadily with the characters, though about a decade ahead; he's currently 52.)
The director made the movie independently with a modest budget—it does not yet have distribution--and aims to take it to a festival in early 2013, he said. (The previous two movies debuted at the Berlin Film Festival.)
If “Before Midnight” winds up coming out in 2013, it will form a kind of neat symmetry in which each sequel follows nine years after the previous movie.
Asked if he’s trying a kind of scripted version of Michael Apted’s “7-Up" series, Linklater laughed, “I’m not sure it was that intentional. But it kind of works out.”
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