Versatile French creatives have been the toast of the artistic community for ages. Actors, musicians, directors, filmmakers and more make up this iconic category. An important part of this class is Julie Delpy. As an actress, director, screenwriter, and musician, Delpy perfectly encapsulates the French artist. But it was her iconic role in Before Sunrise that made her a memorable icon. The film was released in 1995, so what has Delpy been doing in the last 27 years?
Julie Delpy was born in Paris on December 21, 1969. She is the only child to Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet. Her father was a Vietnamese-born French actor and theater director while her mother was a French actress in feature films and the avant-garde theater. Delpy credits her parents exposing her to the arts at an early age for part of her success. She has dealt with health issues since childhood, even having to wear calipers – or metal leg supports – at eight years old.
She was interested in directing as a child and took a summer course at New York University (NYU). Later, she studied filmmaking at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. This led to Delpy having directed, written, and acted in more than 30 films.
Julie Delpy was discovered at fourteen by director Jean-Luc Godard, who cast her in the film Détective in 1984. She then starred in Mauvais Sang and La Passion Béatrice, both of which earned her a nomination for a César Award for Most Promising Actress.
She became an international sensation in 1990 for Europa Europa. Afterwards, she starred in several films in the U.S. and Europe like The Three Musketeers and Killing Zoe.
In 1991, she was nominated for Best Actress at the European Film Award for her role in Voyager. Delpy starred as the female lead in the 1993 film Three Colors: White. This was the second film in Kieślowski’s Three Colors trilogy. She also appeared in the other two films, Blue and Red.
In 1995, Julie Delpy starred in Before Sunrise. She played Celine, a French student returning to Paris. On a train to Vienna, she forms a connection with an American named Jesse through long conversations. At the stop, Jesse convinces Celine to get off the train and they spend the night wandering the city together. After exchanging a kiss at sunset, they become more open with each other. They visit iconic landmarks and discuss their opposite perspectives, past relationships, self-discovery, and the passage of time. The film ends ambiguously. Despite sharing deeper feelings, Celine and Jesse decide not to exchange information, but meet again in six months.
Before Sunrise is one of the most important films of the independent film movement in the 1990s. Delpy has claimed that she and Ethan Hawke were responsible for the film’s dialogue, a grounding element, but this has been contradicted. Nonetheless, it was significant to Delpy’s career. It also led to a trilogy, with the sequel Before Sunset in 2004 and Before Midnight in 2013.
After Before Sunrise
After Before Sunrise, Delpy has starred in many notable roles, such as Serafine Pigot in An American Werewolf in Paris and Erzsébet Báthory in The Countess. She has also become a successful writer, director, and producer. She co-wrote the second and third installment of the Before Sunrise trilogy with Ethan Hawke and director Richard Linklater. They received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for both movies. In 2002, Looking for Jimmy was her feature length directorial debut.
What Is Julie Delpy Doing Now?
Delpy continues to act, write, produce, and direct, such as with her 2019 film My Zoe and the 2021 Netflix show, On the Verge.
Delpy moved to New York in 1990 and moved to Los Angeles a few years later. She has been a naturalized US citizen since 2001, although she also retains her French citizenship. She is also a musical artist. Three tracks from her album were featured in Before Sunset. Delpy composed the score for her movies The Countess, 2 Days in Paris, and its 2012 sequel 2 Days in New York.
Julie Delpy has been married to Dimitris Birbilis since 2015. She has one child, Leo, who was born in January 2009. She shares Leo with her former partner, German film composer Marc Streitenfeld. The pair were together from 2007-2012.
Currently, Delpy divides her time between residing in Paris and Los Angeles. In interviews, Delpy has expressed her dedication to correcting inaccurate views on feminism. She is on Instagram @delpy.julie on which posts about her personal life and activism. Regarding her health issues, Delpy occasionally experiences migraines and panic attacks.