Filmed and set at nine-year intervals, each film takes place over the course of a few hours. A short sequence in the animated anthology film Waking Life also features the characters. Originally in the screenplay, who the two people were and the city they spend time in was vague. Linklater realized that because the film is so much a dialogue between a man and a woman, it was important to have a strong woman co-writer. Linklater and Krizan talked about the concept of the film and the characters for a long time. They wrote the actual screenplay in 11 days. After they did a final reading, Linklater knew that Delpy and Hawke were right for the roles. There was an original screenplay, but it wasn't very romantic, believe it or not.
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SAG Awards 2020: The Best-Dressed Stars on the Red Carpet
The original script for the first film, Before Sunrise , was believe it or not kind of devoid of romance — even though Richard Linklater, the director , had based it on a woman he spent the night walking around Philadelphia with. It was a great blueprint, but it was even more cerebral and talky. He was keen to capture something very true, so wanted the two leads to be writers on the film as well — and he auditioned us about what we wanted to say. I talked about some stuff that ended up in the film, about God existing in the space between people. The process was totally collaborative: all three of us had to agree on ideas for scenes. From the start, those guys wanted the balance of a proper female voice. Remembering that much dialogue was torture — and it was even worse with the longer takes on Before Sunset, which I had suggested doing in real time.
It was naturalistic and dreamy—romantic without being overly saccharine, profound without being pretentious. Okay, maybe it was a little pretentious. Each film was released nine years after the last, allowing the lead characters, played by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, who also cowrote two films in the series, time to change and grow. But after the third film, released in , there seemed to be a sense of finality around the series.