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Once writer/director Julie Delpy had decided on the new direction in her character Marion’s new life in the sequel to ‘2 Days in Paris’, ‘2 Days in New York’, Delpy enlisted two old friends – Alexia Landeau and Alex Nahon – to help her develop the story. Both had appeared in the previous ‘2 Days’ film, as Marion’s sister, Rose, and ex-boyfriend, Manu, respectively. “I’ve known Alex since I was 19, and Alexia for about 14 years.” She and Landeau eventually wrote the final screenplay together.
“I had the story in mind, but I wanted to write with someone,” Delpy says. “I’ve been writing alone for many, many years. I love writing, but when I write alone, I can get stuck in my head. It’s like I’m talking to myself. But when I write with someone, it becomes a game. You bounce ideas off each other. Of course, I always end up getting my ideas in!” she laughs.
The film begins with Marion giving us a quick capsule of what’s happened prior, explaining to her child – and us – how she is now a single mom with a young son, and that grandpa and Auntie Rose are coming for a visit – all via a pair of hand puppets. “I had actually used that with my own son,” she explains. “I wanted to explain to him what had happened to my mother, and that I needed to go back to work. And that was the perfect way for me to explain it to him, so that he wouldn’t feel abandoned.”
Marion herself has a young boy (fathered by Jack, the Adam Goldberg character from the previous film), and Mingus has a young daughter, also from a previous marriage. “He’s had two marriages, so he’s not perfect at it either. He’s learned from his previous experiences to be on the lookout for a sign of anything crazy.” And over a two-day period, he gets an eyeful.
“Prior to the family visiting, the relationship is working just fine. But then we have two days – a time limitation, which is interesting – where her family comes to visit, and it stirs up all kinds of things for her.” Everything from the death of her mom, a gallery opening of her art, to the big question of whether the soul actually exists – which she explores by selling hers to an anonymous bidder as a conceptual art piece! “I wanted to bring all that out, so that Mingus can see it and ask, ‘So is this the real you?’”
At the other end of the handle stirring the pot are the three visitors, led by Delpy’s own father, veteran French actor Albert Delpy, whose hilarious performance as Marion’s loopy dad, Jeannot, is one of the highlights of the film. “I was raised by a big child,” the director laughs. “He’s a wild beast. I saw him onstage in the 70s doing the most insane things, in plays that were just crazy. I’ve seen him play women, junkies. . . everything.” Delpy wrote the part specifically for her father (who also appeared in the previous film). “I know who he is, and I know what he’s capable of. And I know what to do to get him to go to a place where, you know. . . . ‘There he goes.’”
Image Courtesy of 2 Days in New York