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

October 31, 2012

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)

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.

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.

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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

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15 Responses to this Interview

  1. Actually, Forrest Gump was released in 1994.
    She’s right, though, that it is a highly overrated film and it mystified me just what got people so excited about it. It was a screed against dissent and and activism, as well as a celebration of passivity and mediocrity.

    • nicely said.

      But she’s caught the gist of mainstream ’80s Hollywood. Sadly, things have just got worse since. Apart from the few true independents : Linklater, Soderbergh, Haynes, etc. There was some genuinely great independent American film in the ’80s, but it’s largely vanished since. In the mainstream, you have to go back to the ’70s to find anything decent : Klute, Midnight Cowboy, etc.

  2. Mara Bragagnolo

    she’s one of the greatest women in the world. an amazing artist in everything she does. she’s an inspiration for me. I love you Julie Delpy.

  3. Forest Gump and the “time when everything was cute and funny” was not the 80’s honey. You are old enough to know that. Gump was 94. I get your point but if you are gonna make an argument and post it online, get your facts straight. The 80’s ROCKED! So did the 90’s! Sega Genesis, Nirvana, 98 Rock, playing outside was still fun, going to the movies was still cheap and fun, Sienfeld, Quantum Leap, etc…I’m sorry but what was so horrible about that decade?

  4. Thank you so much for this interview. I always felt familiar with Julie Delpy and liked to know her more. I think I’ve found the answer to my question.

  5. Pretencious and boring as the fillms she´s in.

  6. “Maybe I am like a dinosaur, the last romantic person on earth. No, I am sure there are other hopeless romantics as well.”

    She is definitely one of the greatest women in the world. And I absolutely adore her.

  7. French girls are the ultimate version of avant garde women….
    shallow existence to the girls who stick only to their looks
    age gracefully and then u wot be loking like Endora in your 50’s

  8. I love The Talks and pretty much all the previous interviews – most of them are witty and inspiring, but this is just a big self-oriented “blah”. Julie Delpy doesn’t know what’s so great about Forrest Gump. Well I honestly don’t know what’s so great about Julie Delpy!

  9. Her comments on how people care about their looks bother me.
    I always find it funny when thin, beautiful people advise you on not to care about your looks. And same goes for Botox, I agree with her but she ages incredibly well so it’s easy for her to say that.

    Great actress though.

  10. I too dislike (though not “hate) Forrest Gump, but I have no idea how u connect that movie with electing Bush.

    • Because Forrest Gump was the template for Gearge W Bush… Someone apparently too simpleminded to be capable of harm. But the truth behind Bush’s Gump act is that he is a war criminal.

  11. Being from a country(USA), where most people don’t even understand the notion that they are not different or special in some trendy artistic way, when in essence they are the very definition of conformists, there entire lifestyle and opinions based upon the status quo and what is dished into there minds, no independent thought.

    Julie Delpy and very few other women i consider truly wonderful in every aspect (true beauty and intelligence in a form that i highly am attracted too..

    IdoRu>>>Julie Delpy

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