Julie Delpy is the creme de la creme of French actors who appear in mostly English-dialogue movies. If you need an actress who can speak English 75% of the time in your film, Julie is one of the best in
the world. As an actress, she disappears into every performance, weird French accent aside. From her scintillating performance as Head Coach Nick Saban in “The Blind Side” to the psychological complexity she brought to her role as the black maid Minny in the “The Help,” Julie has continued to confound our expectations.
She throws caution to the wind when selecting her roles. Like a chameleon, she sank her teeth into the challenging role of Celine, a French woman dating an American in “Before Sunrise,” then shifted
gears and played Celine, a French woman in love with an American in “Before Sunset,” before finally taking the ultimate risk of her career playing Celine, a woman falling out of love with an American in
“Before Midnight.” She’s like the Detective Munch of “Before” movies.
Incidentally, I played her love interest in “Two Days in New York” – and let me tell you, it seemed like four. There were as many fireworks off the screen as there were on. And as a result, we produced a movie and a son. The planning that went into our immediate annulment put Prince William’s wedding to shame. I shouldn’t reveal Julie’s trade secrets here, but she was convinced that getting married for real — a la De Niro in “Raging Bull” putting on 60 pounds — would lend authenticity to our performances. I had no idea she had outstanding tax liens when I agreed to file a joint return with her.
But let me now address her latest performance. First off, her acting is peerless. I mean, Julie is great in English, but who knows how much better she is when she occasionally shifts to French. Only she does. And people who speak French. I’m guessing she’s tres good in all her scenes.
Second, her stamina is surreal. I mean, those long takes with no cutting — you actually have to know how to act to be in those kinds of scenes. She has a take so long in a car, the car runs out of gas. The nonstop action of the film rivals “My Dinner With Andre” — but Julie ups the ante by doing a lot of walking.
Third, it is very stressful for an actress to have to work under trying conditions. Yet Julie is able to endure a tough shoot by the seaside of Greece in the summer. A true pro, she manages to ignore the distracting beautiful Greek backdrop and stay focused. And we learn so many things from her performance — like Greece is where the Starbucks sign is from. Her performance is raw. Her emotions are exposed. It’s like watching a diagram of the human nervous system. It doesn’t feel like a performance. It feels like we’re eavesdropping on a real conversation between an actual couple. In fact, her performance is so convincing, it made me never want to be in a relationship again. Her acting is so great, I won’t even bring up that she didn’t write a scene for me to kiss her naked breasts in our movie. But here, Ethan Hawke gets to go to town. I get it, I’m black. Yet the bravery of her doing a topless scene for 15 minutes — made me coin the word: “stopless.” Julie Delpy is a stopless performer. Julie, “vous ordonnez,” something-something in French.
The End. (Note: “vous ordonnez” means “you rule”)
(Rock is a four-time Emmy Award winner.)