Movie Article

France's Flower Child

"Before Sunrise"'s beauty -- French-born Julie Delpy transitions into an American star

Publicity tours can get boring, but after three days of room service at a posh New York hotel, Julie Delpy is pleased to announce: ''I've learned to balance a raspberry on my nipple.'' Life is just that sweet for this young French beauty, who doesn't shy from any of the demands of her career. In Before Sunrise, she captured the reality of a 14-hour whirlwind romance by wearing the same dress (or one of three versions) for the five-week shoot. ''After a while, you want to sleep in it,'' she says.

Filming last year's bloody heist drama Killing Zoe wasn't any tidier. ''The prop man came up with a bucket of blood and just doused us,'' says costar Eric Stoltz, who spent the finale rolling on the floor with Delpy and bruising her fragile, pale skin.

After 17 films, Delpy is tougher underneath. She was discovered at 14 by Jean-Luc Godard, and her performance as an ardent Nazi in 1991's Europa, Europa brought her international attention. Now 25, Delpy has made a smooth transition from child to adult roles and from European to American films, even appearing in 1993's distinctly American version of The Three Musketeers. Having moved to New York in 1990 and L.A. two years later, she says, ''My friends never think of me as French.''

Most people just think of her as sexy. ''In all these films, she's reclining on a couch in lingerie,'' says Stoltz. But she's so casual about her appearance, she shrugged off most makeup for Before Sunrise. ''I can't really judge my looks,'' she says, though she will speculate how she might look as une femme d'un certain âge. ''My nostrils will be in my ears,'' she says, pulling back her cheeks to show what a couple of facelifts might do. But like any respectable twentysomething, Delpy isn't sure about her future. She's put off taking any major roles for the moment to write, direct, and star in Blah, Blah, Blah, a short film about L.A. for French TV. A 1992 grad of NYU's summer directing program, she might take that route later. ''That way,'' she says, ''I could look like Orson Welles if I want to.''

Originally posted Jan 27, 1995 Published in issue #259 Jan 27, 1995 Order article reprints
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