For Julie Delpy, Two Days in Paris, her debut film as a director, was a true labour of love. She first thought of the idea 5 years ago. Julie has worked on several projects as a writer but getting her first film as a director off the ground with little money to play with, was never going to be easy.
A growing friendship with producer Christophe Mazodier helped to raise some sort of budget and a good deal more than the 20,000 euros that she initially envisaged was all she would have to play with. Writing the script for the well-received Before Sunset for which Julie was nominated, also boosted her confidence.
I ask Julie firstly, what's Two Days about ? "It's not a romantic comedy as such,' Julie declares, 'it's a comedy yes, but it's not that romantic! There's a dark side to it which I was determined to keep in. There are little political comments. It's harsh on everyone - men, women, the French, Americans. The only ones who seems to have been remotely offended though are some of the French !"
It being about a couple - he is American and she French, was it the clash of those cultures that attracted her? "No, I don't confront the two cultures, but as I have lived in both countries, I can see there are differences between them, although it's not that different overall. In the way we deal with basics, things like love, family etc, there are obvious differences though."
I suggest there is more to it than merely a culture clash and Julie says that perceives it more about a couple's in-fighting. "It's a lot about jealousy,' she muses, 'about small issues that people deal with and about human nature, but I tried to make it funny as well."
Julie directed, produced and edited her own film, and starred in it as well. She even saw a need to co-opt her parents and sister to take part in the film. Was this a case of obvious nepotism or more a case of needs must with the budget? "For Marion's parents, I actually had my parents in mind,' she confesses with a smile, 'they are wonderful actors. There was a drawback in that some financiers were scared off by my dad's rather crude dialogue but I knew my father would give the dialogue an adorable quality, because he looks like a rather perverted Santa! Also on paper, the mother character seemed a bit strange but I knew my mother would give her an adorable quality."
Julie's sister Alexia Landeau is also amongst the cast and I'm sure if I ask Julie about her, the words 'adorable quality' will spring to mind. With only a certain amount of time, we don't go there.
Strangely I suggest this is a film that is perhaps rather unusually, quite frank about sex, to which Julie replies without a hint of embarrassment, "Yes it is, my favourite thing is to tie helium balloons to a man's penis with a nice ribbon because it looks pretty like that, like a present."
Hearing that comment, for some reason instantly makes me want to cross my legs but anxious not to be totally dumbstruck by such a conversation-stopper, I quickly ask what she might be doing next ?"
"All I know is, my next film will be totally different, because I like to write about different things and confront different genres." And with that Julie's on her way, no doubt looking forward to declaring to the next male interviewer, her thoughts on wrapping up male genitalia with a pretty bow and a bit of fancy wrapping paper.
Two Days in Paris is on general release now