Sundance 2012: Julie Delpy's latest sequel, '2 Days in New York'
"Is Ethan Hawke dead?"
That was the response Chris Rock said he had after reading "2 Days in New York," the romantic dramedy he co-stars in with writer-director Julie Delpy that premiered here Monday night.
The comedian was referring, of course, to the pair of dialogue-heavy romances Delpy acted in with Hawke: "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." The first film was a 1995 Gen X hit about two twentysomethings who fall in love over one night in Vienna, and a decade later the actors teamed up again to co-write a sequel.
Delpy's latest project is also a sequel -- this one to "2 Days in Paris," a niche indie hit which made $4.4 million back in 2007. In that movie, the actress played Marion, a woman in a relationship that begins to crack when her boyfriend (Adam Goldberg) visits her and her parents in Paris.
This time around, Marion's family -- her non-English-speaking father, sexpot sister and an ex-boyfriend who is now dating her sister -- head to New York. Marion now has a new beau, Mingus (Chris Rock), and the arrival of Marion's very loud, very French relatives quickly begins to disrupt their otherwise healthy relationship.
Delpy said she wanted to inject "New York" with some fresh blood, fearing that if the film starred Goldberg again it would then become too similar to the "Sunrise/Sunset" movies.
"Marion keeps trying to make it work with a different man, so I kept thinking, 'Who is my next boyfriend?'" she said. "I was thinking here about having to choose a family, and how you create a new family and include them with the old. You know, relationship [stuff]."
Still, it remains to been seen whether audiences will be willing to continue following Marion on her quest for romance. Delpy has been down this road before, and it didn't turn out perfectly, with "Before Sunset" received less enthusiastically by critics than its predecessor.
This time, however, Delpy has brought a new love interest into the fray with Rock. Plus, as she joked nervously at the premiere: "Sequels are sometimes better than originals. Like, "2010" was better than '2001.'"
Photo: Chris Rock and Julie Delpy star in "2 Days in New York." Credit: Sundance Film Festival