Julie Delpy created the love interest in her new movie “2 Days in New York” with one person she wanted to play the role: Chris Rock.
“I’ve always liked his stand-up comedy, he loves French movies, he’s interested in different things. I had met him once, spent about 10 minutes with him, and he stuck in my mind,” she says, over the phone.
Thanks, in part, to a connection between their old-school talent agents, she secured him for the part, admitting, “It’s not an obvious indie actor choice.”
Equally unusual is the fact that Rock plays straight man to Delpy’s frazzled, wacky photographer Marion in the comedy, a sequel to 2007’s “2 Days in Paris.”
Delpy wrote, directed and stars in both movies, and both also feature her real-life father, actor Albert Delpy, playing her character’s dad. This time around, the Frenchman is visiting his artist daughter and her live-in boyfriend Mingus in the Big Apple to help her celebrate the opening of her gallery show.
“One day we clashed; he has a strong personality,” she says, but adds, “Dad is a fantastic actor; it was great to work with him and to give back a little bit of the great stuff” he and her mother, late actress Marie Pillet, instilled in her.
She also enjoyed working in New York, a place where she once lived, which she describes as “a hard city to work in,” a “moving target” and a slow shoot compared to the Paris film.
Finding support for the new movie, however, was easy, as a result of the success of “2 Days in Paris,” which got international distribution and, surprising to Delpy, was popular in Muslim countries, even though it, and the follow-up, are packed with overtly sexual themes and a free-spirited attitude about sex.
While Delpy tried to retain the screwball comedy element of “Paris” in “New York,” she says she and co-screenwriter Alexia Landeau (who plays her wild, confrontational, oversexed sister in the movie) consciously did try to lighten up other aspects of “Paris” when penning “New York.”
This time, with no references to Rimbaud or Baudelaire, Delpy says, “There are fewer jokes that only four people are going to get.”