During the fifth day of the whirlwind they call the South by Southwest Film Festival, Den of Geek had the chance to catch-up with actor Ethan Hawke and filmmaker Paul Schrader. They were in town to discuss First Reformed, an A24 release that Schrader considers his most spiritual film—it chronicles Hawke as an ex-military chaplain who is haunted by severe bouts of doubt.
While we’ll soon have our complete interview with the pair, I could not help but mention to the star that director Richard Linklater is also in Austin, which means two-thirds of the trinity behind the Before Sunrise Trilogy are present. And as it has been just over five years since Before Midnight, the third and ostensibly final part of the Jesse and Céline saga that ended on an ambiguous note for Hawke and Julie Delpy’s alter-egos, it certainly seems like enough time has passed to discuss continuing. Hawke appeared open to it too, stating that while they have yet to begin talking about it, it would be approaching that time in the creative process… and that he would consider reconnecting with Jesse and Céline in a “new cycle” of films.
“It’s about time for us to revisit that conversation,” Hawke says when I suggest he and Linklater discuss the series. “The project feels complete to me. It never felt complete before and it feels complete now, but that doesn’t mean Julie couldn’t change my mind tomorrow.” Yet when asked what he thinks another film would look like, Hawke seemed to genuinely begin considering the possibilities.
“I mean that’s usually—about five years after each of the other ones is when we start writing the next one. So it would be time to have a meeting soon and figure out what they’re doing. Getting ready for their 50th birthday… You know what I think it would be? It would start something new with Jesse and Céline. I doubt it would be titled ‘Before,’ if you know what I mean? It would start some new thing. That cycle I think is finished, but you could begin another cycle with those same two characters.”
After I suggest the title After Sunrise, he adds with a chuckle, “Something like that.”
We may revisit Jesse and Céline someday in the hopefully not-so-distant future—assuming those discussions between Hawke, Delpy, and Linklater goes the hopeless romantics’ way—but Hawke can next be seen in Schrader’s First Reformed, which premieres today at SXSW and will be released by A24 on June 22, 2018.