Julie Delpy: “I know that my performance in La Comtesse is correct without being extraordinary…”

Julie Delpy - The Countess
Film Tray

In 2010, Ethan Hawke interviewed Julie Delpy in Première. Flashback, on the occasion of the rebroadcast of this great film on Arte.

The Countessof Julie Delpy, traces the supposedly true story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory. In search of youth at all costs, she goes throughout her kingdom to seek the miracle solution. Sometimes it is found in the most incongruous places: the blood of young virgins…

On its release, the film had aroused the enthusiasm of Première, which had given 3 stars to the Countess while saluting the multiple talents of Delpy, at the same time screenwriters, director and main actress of her work. A few pages after the review, n°398 of April 2010 (with Matt Damon on the cover) offered an original interview, since it was Ethan Hawke, his partner in the Before trilogy, by Richard Linklater, who asked questions to her longtime friend. Here are some excerpts from this “intimate conversation between two inspired jack-of-all-trades”, as Mathieu Carratier wrote, who collected their comments.

The Countess: Julie Delpy hands down the title role of this historic biopic [critique]

ETHAN: People like Orson Welles, Warren Beatty or Woody Allen write, direct and act in their movies, which are often great. The narcissism of certain artists is so powerful that they sometimes draw great works from it. Still, I don’t see you as particularly narcissistic.
JULIE: People often talk to me about it but, as you say, I don’t think I am.

ETHAN: You’re crazy, but you’re not narcissistic!
JULIE: (Laughs) I never look in the mirror, I’m not vain. I don’t think I’m obsessed with myself.

ETHAN: What’s it like putting on your own performance? Did you have a good editor?
JULIE: I wasn’t sure 2 Days in Parisbut I got a very good one for The Countess. I kind of disconnect from myself. The director and the actress become two different people. It’s completely schizophrenic.

ETHAN: Do you think you can judge yourself?
JULIE: Yes. I know that my performance in The Countess is correct without being extraordinary… But it was what I was looking for. I wanted it to be simple, not one of those big extravagant performances. I wanted to avoid excess. I realized that I favored the film rather than my character. And then I had a fantastic actress by my side, Anamaria Marinca, who played in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.

ETHAN: It’s probably the best movie of the last few years…
JULIE: Even though she has fewer scenes on screen than me, given the story, I realized that I was spending more time editing her performance than mine.

ETHAN: You were 100% cut out for the role, so it was natural that you decided to play it. But I imagine you would certainly have had more fun directing the film if you hadn’t acted in it.
JULIE: It’s true. What happened was that I found the funding because I was going to play the lead role. It can be so difficult to have an actress for a film, a name that can unlock the budget for you… The same situation had arisen with 2 Days in Paris but, for once, I think that giving the role to someone else would have been a mistake.

From Before Sunrise to Before Midnight: “It’s been going on for 20 years, so why not 20 more? »

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