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15 Facts About Before Sunrise

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In 1995, when a baby-faced Jesse (Ethan Hawke) talked a charming French girl named Celine (Julie Delpy) into spending the night meandering through Vienna with him while discussing love and death, the audience had no idea the star-crossed lovers’ 12-hour romance would blossom into almost 20 years and three films. At the end of Sunrise, the couple agrees to meet again at the exact same train station six months later. Would they really reunite? It took nine more years for fans to find out, but Celine, Jesse, and director Richard Linklater rejoined for two more films: 2004’s Before Sunset and 2013’s Before Midnight, where we find out Jesse and Celine sort of lived happily ever after. Here are some things you might not have known about the original film. 

1. IN THE OPENING TRAIN SEQUENCE, THE ARGUING COUPLE ACCUSES EACH OTHER OF BEING ALCOHOLICS.

Linklater left out subtitles, so unless you’re fluent in German, you’re not going to understand their fiery exchange. Luckily, the script translates the quarrel. The man reads in his newspaper how 70,000 women are addicted to alcohol. “You’re one of them,” he says to his wife. She volleys back, saying he’s the alcoholic. “I have a reason to do it. I’m married to you!” he retorts.

2. THE RECORD CELINE AND JESSE LISTEN TO IN THE LISTENING BOOTH IS “COME HERE” BY AMERICAN SINGER KATH BLOOM.

Linklater was a fan of Bloom’s, so he used her song in the movie. The attention Bloom received from the movie inspired her to release new albums, including 1999’s Come Here: The Florida Years.

3. LINKLATER, HAWKE, AND DELPY KNEW CELINE AND JESSE WOULD SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN.  

“I always said that the movie was a litmus test for how you view romance,” Linklater told The New York Times in 2004. “Some people would go: ‘It’s so clear. They will never get back together.’ People were so sure.” He said the viewer’s interpretation depends on their romantic history. Apparently Delpy, Linklater, and Hawke are romantics—they knew Celine and Jesse would come back together.  

4. CELINE AND JESSE SHOW UP IN LINKLATER’S WAKING LIFE.

In Linklater’s first rotoscoped (a type of animation) movie, Jesse and Celine appear in bed together and have a dreamy, cerebral Sunrise-esque conversation.

5. THE MOVIE TAKES PLACE ON BLOOMSDAY

Every June 16 in Dublin and other cities worldwide, people celebrate James Joyce’s Ulysses; the events in the book take place on June 16, 1904. The Joyce references don’t end there: Jesse’s real name just happens to be James.

6. THE MOVIE FEATURES CAMEOS FROM LINKLATER, ADAM GOLDBERG, AND THE FILM’S EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, JOHN SLOSS.

Goldberg, who previously worked with Linklater in Dazed and Confused, is the guy asleep on the train in the opening sequence. Fun fact: Goldberg and Delpy later dated and starred together in 2 Days in Paris, which Delpy also wrote and directed. Linklater has a Hitchcockian-like cameo in the Arena bar scene, where he plays foosball and wears a Shonen Knife T-shirt—a prolific Japanese band that released their 19th record last year. Finally, producer John Sloss, who would go on to work with Linklater on the rest of the Before films and also Boyhood, plays the complaining American in Café Sperl, the scene of Celine and Jesse’s faux telephone conversation.

7. THIS WAS THE FIRST OF 10 COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN HAWKE AND LINKLATER.

Hawke and Delpy continued working with Linklater on the Before sequels and Waking Life, but Hawke was the only one of the pair who continued to act in Linklater movies where he wasn’t a part of Jesse and Celine. Three years after Sunrise, Hawke starred in Linklater’s The Newton Boys, along with Linklater’s other muse Matthew McConaughey. Hawke also has roles in Tape, Fast Food Nation, and last year’s Boyhood.  Linklater appears in Hawke’s feature directorial debut, Chelsea Walls, and Hawke’s second feature as a director, The Hottest State.

8. JESSE MENTIONS THE WRONG MISS JULY PLAYBOY PLAYMATE.

During a conversation about the first sexual feelings he had growing up, Jesse explains to Celine that he had an “obsessive relationship with Miss July 1978,” and then refers to the playmate as “Crystal.” Well, Miss July 1978 was actually Karen Morton, not someone named Crystal. Miss July passed away a year ago.

9. DESPITE THE NATURALISTIC DIALOGUE, NONE OF THE SUNRISE FILMS ARE IMPROVISED.

In a 2013 Reddit Ask Me Anything session, Linklater talked about “non-acting acting.” “It’s a compliment when people think it’s [the Sunrise trilogy] improvised, but I don’t think anyone could ever understand how much work it is for them [Delpy and Hawke].” Delpy also explained the lack of improvisation. “The truth of these movies is, they are tediously rehearsed, every detail planned, every overlapping line scripted,” she told the Chicago Tribune in 2013. “It’s so precise that it’s almost a joke when people think we are acting off the cuff.”

10. THE ACTORS HAD A DIFFICULT TIME COMING UP WITH A REASON WHY CELINE WOULD GET OFF THE TRAIN WITH JESSE.

In 2012, Hawke told The Guardian he and Delpy performed “controlled improvs” about what Jesse could say to convince her to come with him. Delpy mentioned Celine would only get off the train for someone who was funny and smart. “We finally came up with this idea that I was a time traveler, Hawke said. She was like, ‘OK, that I would get off the train for.’”

11. BEFORE SUNRISE HAD TWO FEMALE WRITERS —KIM KRIZAN AND JULIE DELPY—BUT THE SCRIPT HAD A GENDERLESS VOICE.

Linklater told The Guardian in 2013 that Dazed and Confused “had been commandeered more by a male voice. There was such testosterone and that’s where my head was at.” He didn’t want to play favorites to one sex over the other, which is one reason why the on-going collaboration between Hawke, Delpy, and him worked so well. “Ethan and I do have this feminist side, and I think Julie has a very strong male side, so that’s the way it works: Ethan writes plenty of Julie’s dialogue, Julie writes for Ethan, and I’m the swing vote.”

12. HAWKE, LINKLATER, AND DELPY JOKED BEFORE SUNRISE WAS THE LOWEST-GROSSING FILM OF ALL TIME TO GARNER A SEQUEL, BUT THAT’S INACCURATE.

Sunrise only grossed $5 million domestically (but with inflation, it becomes the highest-grossing of the trilogy, with $10.5 million), but it got a sequel—even though no one but them wanted one. There are actually several franchises with much lower grosses that received sequels, including the V/H/S horror films.

13. A SAD ORIGIN STORY INSPIRED THE MOVIE.

In 1997, Linklater told The Morning Call that Sunrise was based on a real-life 1989 encounter he had with a woman in Philadelphia, but it wasn’t until 2013 when a Chicago Tribune article further revealed the true story: Her name was Amy Lehrhaupt, and unbeknownst to Linklater, she died in 1994, before he began filming Sunrise. Before Midnight is dedicated to her.

14. DELPY AND HAWKE WEREN’T CREDITED AS SCREENWRITERS.

They contributed to the script as much as Linklater did, but weren’t credited because “screenwriting guild rules gave authorship to the originators.” But, Hawke and Delpy did receive writing credits for the sequels, and as a result, they got nominated for two WGA awards and two Oscars.  

15. DELPY INTIMIDATED HAWKE.

In a recent Reddit AMA interview, Hawke was asked: If the Sunrise trilogy came out as a Criterion Collection, what bonuses would he like to see? “My hope is to finally get to see my screen test with Julie, you know?” he told the fan. “I’ve never even seen that. And I remember it because if you want to meet an intimidating 23 year old [sic] woman, Julie Delpy is certainly one of the most intimidating I’ve ever met. But I’d love to see our audition together, you know?”

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20 Character Actors Who Make Everything They’re in Better
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Netflix

If the main character in your movie is a straitlaced do-gooder, or really, blandly relatable in any way, you’re going to need some eccentric figures to bring some spice to the party. More than mere sidekicks, these characters either make the world they inhabit feel dangerous and chaotic or bring order to insanity by sheer force of personality. They’re characters that make your ears perk just as the movie starts to lose you.

Character actors are tasked with making movies more interesting, but only the best of them succeed. So here are 20 ultra-talented stars who never fail to make good films great, great films classic, and terrible films almost watchable.

1. PETER STORMARE

Peter Stormare in 'American Gods'
Jan Thijs, Starz Entertainment/FremantleMedia North America

Thank Fargo for this one. Peter Stormare’s magic stems from his range, which runs from Genuinely Kind to Terrifyingly Aggressive. You might expect him to play a growling bad guy every role, but his comic timing and humane sensitivity allow him to play everything from an unlicensed eye doctor in Minority Report to multiple voices on children’s shows to an incompetent nihilist kidnapper in The Big Lebowski.

2. OCTAVIA SPENCER

Octavia Spencer in 'Hidden Figures' (2016)
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Octavia Spencer is a world-class actor and producer with the hardware to prove it (including an Oscar, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe). She’s a dynamite talent who offers a Herculean amount of support to everyone she shares scenes with. It’s possible that her trademark is a wry, knowing sense of humor, but she’s not that easily pinned down or pigeonholed, mightily subverting expectations in genre work like Snowpiercer and gut-wrenching dramas like Fruitvale Station.

3. SCOOT MCNAIRY

Scoot McNairy in 'Halt and Catch Fire'
Eric Ogden, AMC

Possessing leading man looks and chops with a character actor’s transformative ability, Scoot McNairy is a deft craftsman who brings meek powder keg Gordon Clark to life on Halt and Catch Fire as well as embodying slimy slave trader Brown in 12 Years a Slave and amateurish holdup man Frankie in the crime drama Killing Them Softly.

4. TILDA SWINTON

Tilda Swinton in 'Only Lovers Left Alive' (2013)
Sandro Kopp, Sony Pictures Classics

Some character actors are in the hall of fame, some have won awards, but Tilda Swinton is on (and possibly from) another planet. She can more than hold her own as a leading performer, delivering searing portrayals in We Need to Talk About Kevin and deathly mystery in The Only Lovers Left Alive. But it’s her bizarre character work that most endures, like having your brain smacked with a rainbow baseball bat. From her toothy despot in Snowpiercer to her thousand-year-old dowager in The Grand Budapest Hotel to her wintry witch in The Chronicles of Narnia to a dozen other deeply strange performances, Swinton is playing a totally different game than everyone else. If Hollywood ever makes a David Bowie biopic, they know who to hire.

5. OLIVER PLATT

Oliver Platt in FX's 'Fargo'
Chris Large, FX Networks

An actor’s actor, Oliver Platt never seems content to play the same role twice, yet he has the peerless ability to make it feel as if we’ve known a character our whole lives. That bone-deep familiarity is a quality that comes from another level of acting talent. Even if he’s only in one scene, Platt never phones it in. He’s never less than fantastic. Whether droll and off-the-cuff or stridently severe, you get the feeling that Platt is in it for the pure, unbridled love of acting.

6. ANN DOWD

Ann Dowd plays Aunt Lydia in 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

This Emmy-winning, 30-year veteran is in five movies coming out this year alone. That’s on top of a busy slate of guest starring roles on TV shows where she almost always becomes the best thing about the episode. She just finished up a remarkable run as the dead-eyed, chain-smoking Patti in The Leftovers, but her reign of matronly terror as Aunt Lydia on The Handmaid’s Tale has only just begun.

7. GIANCARLO ESPOSITO

Giancarlo Esposito in 'Breaking Bad'
Michele K. Short, AMC/Sony Pictures Television

To offer some perspective on Giancarlo Esposito’s genius: he recently did a single episode of Westworld where he delivered a fiery monologue that shook a character to the core, and the creators of Westworld almost definitely hired him because they knew he’d deliver a fiery monologue that would shake an entire audience to its core. Best known as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad (and Better Call Saul), Esposito has appeared in more than 75 movies and a list of TV episodes no one has time to count (though it's worth a reminder that he played Big Bird's camp counselor on Sesame Street). Unfailingly charismatic, Esposito is a modern marvel who, over four decades of acting, has never failed to astound.

8. CARRIE COON

Carrie Coon stars in HBO's 'The Leftovers'
HBO

Carrie Coon’s acting talent is so outstanding that she often commanded entire sequences in The Leftovers without interacting with anyone else. Her character was marked by isolation, and you could wind up not remembering to blink while watching her complete even the most mundane of tasks with a seemingly infinite pool of sorrow. She brought that concentration of anxiety to Gone Girl, where she played the sister of Ben Affleck’s character, and, most recently, to the third season of the Fargo TV series.

9. MICHAEL STULHBARG

Michael Stuhlbarg in 'A Serious Man' (2009)
Focus Features

Last year, in addition to his starring role in the third season of Fargo, Michael Stulhbarg was in three Best Picture nominees—The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, and The Post—where he played pivotal roles as a modest Soviet spy, a father with a barn-burning monologue of compassionate acceptance, and a cosmopolitan newspaper editor, respectively. Three in one year. That’s incredible, but easy to believe when it comes to a talent like Stuhlbarg, who combines a workmanlike consistency and a stage actor’s perfectionism to create everymen who, far from being boring, are each singularly memorable.

10. MARGO MARTINDALE

Margo Martindale in 'The Americans'
FX Networks

The one. The only. Margo Martindale is so transcendent that BoJack Horseman features a character called “Beloved Character Actress Margo Martindale” (which is voiced by Martindale). Perhaps the most famous character actor currently working, she brings a maternal energy to even her craziest characters, which probably makes them seem even crazier. She also excels in roles that exude a sense of cool confidence, which helps if you’re handling soviet spies on The Americans or leading a weed-dealing family on Justified.

11. WALTON GOGGINS

Walton Goggins in FX's 'Justified'
FX Networks

Speaking of Justified: Walton Goggins earned an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of gritty-yet-charming criminal Boyd Crowder on the show, but he deserves so many more awards (though it's worth noting that he did win an Oscar in 2002, when The Accountant—a short film he produced and starred in—was named Best Live-Action Short Film). He’s got a flare for playing wild-eyed thugs and weirdos blissfully lacking self-awareness, but the scummy majesty he offers isn’t solely used for black hats. Goggins popping up randomly in movies and TV shows is always a delight because he’s a hell of an actor who seems to have time traveled here from the Wild West.

12. CCH POUNDER

CCH Pounder in 'NCIS: New Orleans'
CBS

CCH Pounder’s niche is serious professionals in police stations and emergency rooms, but she’s also brought steely playfulness to the neighborhood witch Madame Dorothea in the Mortal Instruments franchise. She’s consistently fantastic, drawing on years of expertise, natural magnetism, and an amazing number of starring and guest-starring roles on TV.

13. STEPHEN ROOT

Stephen Root in 'Idiotsitter' (2014)
Comedy Central

Stephen Root has portrayed so many outlandish characters that it’s shocking when he turns up in a movie in khakis and a Polo shirt. There are no limits on his range, and you can take your pick from a metric ton of favorites: Office Space, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Dodgeball, Idiocracy, King of the Hill, NewsRadio, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Get Out are just a few. In his TV career, he’s been in over 700 episodes and continues to elevate his game. This is legendary character actor status here.

14. ALLISON JANNEY

Allison Janney in 'I, Tonya' (2017)
Neon

West Wing fans have known about Allison Janney’s ability to command a room either with charm, severity, or by doing "The Jackal" since the late 1990s. But she solidified her place in the Character Actor Hall of Fame with her Oscar-winning turn as Tonya Harding’s abusive, bird enthusiast mother in I, Tonya. With a comic edge that echoes vaudeville (see: Hairspray) and a scary intensity when things get serious, Janney excels in any role you lay at her feet.

15. PAT HEALY

Pat Healy in 'The Innkeepers' (2011)
Magnolia Pictures

Often portraying the disturbing or the disturbed, Pat Healy is willing to push extremes of manic glee while staying grounded. He most notably shines through the grit in Cheap Thrills as the downtrodden mechanic Craig who performs increasingly violent and degrading stunts for a bigger pot of money. He also menaced Ann Dowd and Dreama Walker by phone in Compliance and was menaced by ghosts in The Innkeepers.

16. MICHELLE HURST

Michelle Hurst in 'Orange Is the New Black'
Netflix

If you’re a fan of Law & Order and its 1000 spinoffs, you’ve seen (and likely marveled at) Michelle Hurst a dozen times. She possesses a sharp ferocity, as proven by her portrayal of the acerbic Miss Claudette on the first season of Orange is the New Black. She was sidelined after a 2013 car accident, but she’s back this year in a supporting role in the romantic comedy Permission, so hopefully casting directors will take of this criminally underused powerhouse.

17. MICHAEL PEÑA

Michael Peña in 'CHIPS' (2017)
Peter Iovino, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

If you only know Michael Peña as the fast-talking goof in Ant-Man, you’d be forgiven for not realizing the dangerous dramatic work he has done since Crash. He’s the rare talent who’s at the top of his game whether trying to make us laugh, cry, or wrestle with difficult truths. How else can you explain him stealing scenes in Marvel’s miniature superhero film a year after transforming wholesale into Cesar Chavez for a biopic of the civil rights activist?

18. KATHRYN HAHN

Kathryn Hahn in 'Happyish'
Showtime

Kathryn Hahn has been outshining her leading counterparts for years, but Bad Moms really gave her room to run. She absolutely has the skills to heighten the drama in movies like Revolutionary Road and This Is Where I Leave You, but the sweet spot of her talent is in finding humor by playing an exaggerated version of our funny best friend. Jill Soloway’s Afternoon Delight proved Hahn could shoulder a starring role, but it’s great that she has found her stride as the bar-hopping, sexually adventurous single mother ripping through stereotypes in a budding Bad Moms franchise and continues to command the screen in ensembles.

19. KEITH DAVID

Keith David and Parker Young in 'Enlisted'
Adam Taylor, Fox

This Juilliard graduate got his cinematic start with The Thing and Platoon, then went on to lend his unmistakable, Emmy-worthy voice and stature to a slew of harrowing dramas. But Keith David’s secret weapon is his comic perfection as an exasperated authority figure on display in There’s Something About Mary, Rick and Morty, the short-lived-but-brilliant Enlisted, and later seasons of Community. You can count on the Tony winner for acting perfection on screen or on stage.

20. BETH GRANT

Drew Barrymore and Beth Grant in 'Donnie Darko' (2001)
Newmarket Films

If you need an actor to play a religious zealot or snappy rule-enforcer, Beth Grant is your first and last phone call. She’s the consummate stick in the mud, crafting figures who scold and harangue the main character for having even the tiniest bit of fun. We often love to hate the characters she portrays in movies like Donnie Darko and No Country for Old Men (not to mention her regular role on The Mindy Project), but she always transforms flat antagonists into fully realized humans by carving out space for sympathy.

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Why Our Brains Love Plot Twists
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From the father-son reveal in The Empire Strikes Back to the shocking realization at the end of The Sixth Sense, everyone loves a good plot twist. It's not the element of surprise that makes them so enjoyable, though. It's largely the set-up, according to cognitive scientist Vera Tobin.

Tobin, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University, writes for The Conversationthat one of the most enjoyable moments of a film or novel comes after the big reveal, when we get to go back and look at the clues we may have missed. "The most satisfying surprises get their power from giving us a fresh, better way of making sense of the material that came before," Tobin writes. "This is another opportunity for stories to turn the curse of knowledge to their advantage."

The curse of knowledge, Tobin explains, refers to a psychological effect in which knowledge affects our perception and "trips us up in a lot of ways." For instance, a puzzle always seems easier than it really is after we've learned how to solve it, and once we know which team won a baseball game, we tend to overestimate how likely that particular outcome was.

Good writers know this intuitively and use it to their advantage to craft narratives that will make audiences want to review key points of the story. The end of The Sixth Sense, for example, replays earlier scenes of the movie to clue viewers in to the fact that Bruce Willis's character has been dead the whole time—a fact which seems all too obvious in hindsight, thanks to the curse of knowledge.

This is also why writers often incorporate red herrings—or false clues—into their works. In light of this evidence, movie spoilers don't seem so terrible after all. According to one study, even when the plot twist is known in advance, viewers still experience suspense. Indeed, several studies have shown that spoilers can even enhance enjoyment because they improve "fluency," or a viewer's ability to process and understand the story.

Still, spoilers are pretty universally hated—the Russo brothers even distributed fake drafts of Avengers: Infinity War to prevent key plot points from being leaked—so it's probably best not to go shouting the end of this summer's big blockbuster before your friends have seen it.

[h/t The Conversation]

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