A Fourth 'Before' Movie Was In The Works With Richard Linklater, But Julie Delpy Turned It Down

The films in Richard Linklater's Before romantic drama trilogy were released nine years apart, and the most recent entry, Before Midnight, came out in 2013. So if that established pattern were to continue, the fourth Before movie should come out in 2022 – but unless something completely unexpected happens, audiences may have seen the end of Jesse and Céline.

Julie Delpy, one of the co-writers and co-stars of this unconventional franchise, revealed that she said no to Linklater when he approached her about working on a fourth installment.

In an interview with the French outlet Telerama (via The Playlist), Delpy talks about her frustration with the entertainment industry, and it sounds like she's so "fed up" that she can't get her own film produced that she decided to not return for a fourth Before film.

"I have a wonderful screenplay, A Dazzling Display of Splendor, about the pioneers of Hollywood. One of the best I've written," she said. "A talented and well-known English actress, Emilia Clarke, is attached to the project. And yet, I'm still struggling. Non-stop. I have so many movies in my drawers that will never be shot if you only knew! I'm fed up."

"I often think about [leaving the industry]," Delpy continued. "A year and a half ago, I was not far from it. The hell I went through to produce my film had exhausted me. I said no to Richard Linklater for the fourth part of the Before films. I thought that maybe I could go back to school. I would make a very good doctor, for example! You give me three symptoms, and I tell you what you are suffering from! But I like to create, to tell stories; it's stronger than me."

I empathize with what she's going through here, even though I can't possibly fully understand what it's like to be a woman in the film industry and to be constantly second-guessed and underestimated and outright ignored. Would I personally love to see Delpy come around in time to make a fourth Before film that hits the nine year release pattern? Of course. But if she does not, I sincerely hope cinephiles are able to take a nuanced look at her experiences and not paint her as some kind of villain in this scenario.

Could We Still See a Fourth Before Movie?

Here's a potentially dumb question: if a fourth movie were to break the "every nine years" streak, would the folks responsible for these films even be interested in doing it? Exactly how important is the nine-year gap between movies? Would Delpy, Hawke, and Linklater consider waiting 10 years? 12? Would they skip all the way to 18? I wonder...

Like Christopher Nolan, Richard Linklater is a filmmaker who is clearly obsessed with the concept and passage of time, and his cinematic exploits have often focused explicitly on that theme. Boyhood is the most famous and high profile example, but his interest goes back farther than that: the first Before movie came out in 1995, and Linklater's 2001 movie Tape takes place in a hotel room entirely in real time. And coming up, he's directing a film adaptation of Merrily We Roll Along that could take him literally 20 years to finish – and maybe longer, if the pandemic affected his plans in a significant way.

Someone will inevitably ask the director about the future of this franchise, so stay tuned for a more definitive answer.