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Julie Delpy: “People should care about who they are”

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Julie Delpy
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Short Profile

Name: Julie Delpy
DOB: 21 December 1969
Place of Birth: Paris, Île-de-France, France
Occupation: Actor, Writer, Director

Ms. Delpy, what kind of movies do you hate?

I kind of hate all the ’80s where everyone was cute and funny and Forrest Gump is like the greatest thing ever. I hate that. I think that Forrest Gump is why we ended up with George Bush in the U.S. I hate this stupid film.

Were the ’60s and ’70s a better time for cinema?

Those are the films I was raised with. I’m inspired by films like Bonnie and Clyde and all the Scorsese films where the bad guys were the heroes, even though these films are very different from mine. I like it when everyone is mean and no one is redeemable. I love The Godfather where he kills everyone at the end and he is still the central character.

You have explored several different genres with the films you have directed. What kind of films do you prefer making?

I do what I want as long as people give me the money to do it. What is great about shooting a film that takes place in present day is that even if you have a scene in a subway and you don’t have permission to shoot there, you just take along a digital camera and do it anyways.

Getting arrested might throw a wrench in your production schedule.

If you get arrested you go to jail! (Laughs) But luckily you don’t get arrested. When you do a period piece, everything has to be planned. There is not one thing that can be improvised. It is great training, but it is also very hard.

What are the positive and negative sides of acting and directing at the same time?

It is a very hard process and I don’t think I will be doing it for the rest of my life. Comedy is easier and as an actress I am just more used to that and I can do it better. Drama is hard – especially when you are directing in a corset. (Laughs)

“Who cares if you get older? It’s not such a big deal.”

As you age, have you ever felt pressure to change the way you look in order to still appear for roles?

It’s a weird obsession that I find very sad, because I think it’s okay to age. Who cares if you get older? It’s not such a big deal. I’m not very attached to my looks either. I know it’s weird because as an actress I should care, but I don’t. I’ve never done Botox - I don’t want to do it, it terrifies me. Maybe people think that I am crazy for not doing Botox, but I don’t care. It’s a form of insecurity. I think Botox is a form of madness. Some people will say it’s great, but I think it’s a form of neurosis, of sickness. It’s the same kind of obsession as people who throw up to stay skinny. People shouldn’t be so obsessed with their appearance; they should care about who they are.

Has that gotten worse in recent years?

Beauty and youth have always been an issue, no matter how far in history you go back. Powerful people need to stay young and energetic looking; you see plastic surgery on businessmen and businesswomen nowadays.

You do a lot: you write screenplays, you play music, you act, you direct films. Why?

I need a lot of outlets. I am a pretty anxious person and creating is a way for me to deal with it. I know that it sounds very stupid, but it is my way of dealing with my anxiety. I have a lot of worries. I do not express it very much in my life because I just create a lot. I am at my best when I am doing a lot, when I am creative, that is when I feel the best.

Ending scene from Two Days in Paris (2007), directed by Julie Delpy.

Do you intimidate people by how much you do?

Most men will be frightened by how much I do. And that is a reality. It is like I find love but then people get very threatened by how much I do with my life.

Have you scared off a boyfriend or two?

I think that men maybe feel like they lose their purpose. It is an interesting change in history. It is the first time that women are working, taking care of kids, doing kind of everything. And men should be around, obviously. I think it is really the best thing to have a family and stuff like this. But I think it maybe makes them feel not as needed as they used to be needed in the past and I think it makes some men, not all men, insecure in a certain way. But I am not saying that every man is scared of independent women, just some are.

Are you a romantic?

Maybe I am like a dinosaur, the last romantic person on earth. No, I am sure there are other hopeless romantics as well. I don’t know if I’m romantic anymore though. Now that I’m a mother and stuff, I don’t really care anymore. (Laughs)

Because you have less time?

I have so many different things going on. But I am already writing four more films.

You are currently writing four new screenplays?

Four or five, I can’t remember exactly. It is very scattered because I am very disorganized. So what I do is start writing a story and then let it sit for four years and then finish it in two weeks. At the moment I have four screenplays at around 70 pages that I really need to finish, but I am too disorganized, which is probably why I am not a real writer because they usually are more efficient.

How do you manage it all in the end?

Luckily I have a very organized boyfriend so he makes sure I don’t leave the child in the park. I guess that is what you call love.