Julie Delpy has never gotten the chance to direct one of the dramas that she’s written. But in working on her seventh film “My Zoe” — which she wrote, directed and stars in — Delpy thought back to advice and inspiration she received from quite the mentor: the legendary Polish auteur Krzysztof Kieslowski.
Delpy worked with Kieslowski on all three films in his “Three Colors” trilogy, most notably “White” from 1994. And she explained that their discussions about fate helped inspire the work she would do on “My Zoe” decades later.
“He was really intrigued by the fact that, how do you make a film that goes against fate? He was someone that was obsessed with fate. That was the conversation. It was a spark,” Delpy told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman. “And then the idea really came clearer to me when I had my son, because suddenly, the incredible existential fear that comes with becoming a parent is something that kind of took over me and made my life not impossible but complicated.”
“My Zoe” is a departure from the typically more comedic Delpy, who is known for the Richard Linklater “Before” trilogy and for her work directing the romantic comedies “2 Days in Paris” and “2 Days in New York.” Her latest film is a drama and thriller broken into three chapters about a recently divorced mother driven to extremes after tragedy befalls her daughter. The film starts as a more traditional drama before shifting conceptually with more thriller and psychological elements, and she referred to the film as something of an allegory about a child custody battle.
Delpy also said she got encouragement from Kieslowski in a way she hadn’t seen with many of her other peers.
“We were talking a lot about writing. He was very supportive of the idea of me becoming a director,” Delpy said. “Unlike some people who were like,’Oh you’re crazy, you’re a woman, just stay pretty, be in front of the camera.’ And he was actually the opposite.”
Check out the full video interview with “My Zoe” writer, director and star Julie Delpy above.