‘Before Midnight’ Reteams Linklater, Hawke and Delpy

There was a reunion of sorts at the DGA Theater, as Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy came together May 21 to unspool “Before Midnight,” the third installment of their “Before” saga.

Sony Pictures Classics’ pic reacquaints auds with Celine (Delpy) and Jesse (Hawke) — the two protags from “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” — nine years after their last rendezvous.

“The first one was kind of about what could be, and the second was about what should’ve been. This third one is about what is,” Hawke said at the pic’s L.A. premiere.  Security guards kept the carpet chaos under control, but that manpower didn’t stop one onlooker from yelling, “Free the filmmakers!” Indeed, some carpet reporters hogged the talent.

Linklater said of his latest pic, “It’s a portrait of people who do have a connection — who probably are meant to be together.”

But don’t ask anybody about real dating. Though Hawke and Delpy have played lovers onscreen for 18 years, the chemistry only goes so far.

“Yeah, it would be weird,” Hawke said of possibly dating his costar. “We have a connection creatively that is mysterious to us, and it’s one that we don’t ask a lot of questions about.”

Delpy added, “It’s not even something that could happen. I feel like he’s my brother, which is actually tricky sometimes because we have to transform that friendship into this love dynamic, which is so different.”

Later, the trio intro’d the pic, with Delpy strutting across the stage in an red tight-fitting dress. She giggled. “Oh, it’s exciting, and I hope you enjoy the…”

“You kind of sound like Marilyn Monroe right now,” jabbed Hawke.

“It’s the dress. It makes me totally like I’ve become a bimbo. It’s really amazing,” she gushed.

“The truth is we’re all feeling very oddly moved to be here, where we introduced the movie 18 years ago,” Hawke rescued. “It feels like we’ve somehow completed this.”

Fourth movie in the works? Nobody answered in the affirmative, but Linklater quipped that he’d probably need nine more years.

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