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Script not improvised
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sean Means wrote a strong review of "Before Midnight" ("Love after 40 gets complex in 'Before Midnight,'" Tribune, June 14); I agree with his four-star rating.

However, Means made an error about the screenplay that may seem minor, but is significant. He stated that the script director Richard Linklater and actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke wrote together was "semi-improvised." This could not be further from the truth.

They actually sat together and pounded out the screenplay, each helming their own laptop. Every single exchange (especially the 14-minute, one-take car ride) was rehearsed again and again.

As Linklater wrote in an online interview: "The percentage of improv in the 3 movies is exactly 0%. It's all scripted and rehearsed until Julie and Ethan practically lose their minds."

Delpy similarly said: "You will see these very long scenes, and they seem pretty natural. But it's scripted, every line."

The rumor of improvisation in Linklater's "Before" movies is widespread — a testament to the discipline and talent of Delpy and Hawke. Their delivery seems so real, how could it not have been made up on the spot?

It may not be improvised, but that doesn't mean it isn't real.

Colin S. Liddle


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