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Julie Delpy’s newest release is 2 Days in New York.
Kirk Edwards/Corbis Outline

Indie favorite Julie Delpy steps into the spotlight with her family comedy 2 Days in New York.

French actress Julie Delpy stole American hearts with her turn as beguiling Celine in the 1995 cult hit Before Sunrise and its 2004 sequel, Before Sunset, which earned her an Oscar nod for best adapted screenplay. Since then, Delpy, who lives in L.A., has become a quadruple threat, writing, directing, producing and starring in the well-received 2007 comedy 2 Days in Paris and its festival-darling follow-up, 2 Days in New York, which hits theaters this month. Delpy talked to American Way about culture clash, family ties and finding balance.

American Way: After many years and many films, Americans still remember you best as Sunrise’s Celine.
Julie Delpy: 2 Days in Paris made more money, but Celine sticks with them. The story was so universal: meeting someone, falling in love, those fleeting moments.

AW: Your work frequently focuses on cultural clash.
JD: Often, romance and relationships are a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications, and when you add to that people from different cultures, it makes it even more complicated. In 2 Days, I play with that in a funny way.

AW: Chris Rock is your love interest in the film. How’d he come to the project?
JD: I wrote the script with him in mind. We have a lot in common — family, plus he’s a writer/?producer/director too. He’s smart and creative and insightful and funny. People who see him as just a comic will be surprised.

AW: Speaking of family, with the 2 Days films, you’ve actually turned your dad, theater actor Albert Delpy, into a major movie star in France.
JD: I’ve basically put myself into the most emotionally complicated position a director could. My dad has a lot of respect for me, but some days it’s not easy to boss him around. My dad is so famous now in France, he can’t leave the house without being stopped on the street. At 71, he’s getting the recognition he deserves. The ageism thing has faded. There are no rules anymore.

AW: Do you think that applies to women as well?
JD: I actually have gotten more offers of work as an actress since I turned 40 than I ever did before. But I think it comes from the fact that I can do comedy as well. Once you’re funny, your looks don’t matter as much.