She acts. She directs. She writes. And she's raising a 3-year-old son.
About the only thing Paris-born, Los Angeles-based Julie Delpy doesn't manage on a movie set? Craft services.
But to hear Delpy describe the tenuous balance between filmmaking and family, it's not that big a deal if you plan ahead, and then plan ahead some more.
"You have to deal with the crazy actress, the insane director, the (expletive)-up writer. I'm all three. I just have to deal with myself. It's a lot of stress," she says. "The stakes are high. I've learned that if you're really prepared, it's the best thing you can do. Everything is decided in advance, and of course, it falls apart when you get to the set, so you have to redo it. I plan ahead."
Delpy, 42, again manages it, with aplomb, in 2 Days in New York (in theaters now), the follow-up to her deeply personal 2007 comedy 2 Days in Paris.
She's back again as Marion, a well-meaning but somewhat confused artist who's now raising a child with another single parent, her boyfriend, Mingus (Chris Rock). All seems to be going fairly smoothly until Marion's family comes for an ill-fated, sausage-laden visit from France.
"I wanted to explore more of Marion and her being with a new man, how life evolves for the better and worse. It's such a life-changing experience to have a child. I was interested in seeing how you manage that.
"It's hard. You have to be organized. I can direct, act, write all day long, but raising a kid is the most complicated thing on the planet. I'm not the best mother. No one is."
But she's handling it better than Marion, who seems to wade, eyes wide open, into bad situations, such as allowing her brother-in-law to have illegal drugs delivered to her New York apartment.
"Sometimes people assume that I am 100% her. Part of me is in her. She's more impulsive. She doesn't think before she says things. I'm less confused than her. I'm less impulsive. She's a little bit more dazed and confused. I'm a bit stronger than her, hopefully. She wouldn't be able to handle directing a movie. It's fun to play that part, though. She says the wrong thing. She does the wrong thing."
Could she see herself embodying Marion a third time? "I don't think so. It was a weird thing to do a sequel to that film. It was interesting to explore that character a little more."
Unlike Marion, Delpy says, she has found a way to manage her multiple careers.
"I try to be levelheaded. When I stop shooting, I don't keep working until 5 in the morning. That doesn't work for me. I know everything that's happening from Day 1 to Day 34. When I'm done working, I go have dinner and take care of my son. I do the work at work. I run my lines at night.
"I cut the work out from my life or else I'd go crazy. The bottom line is that directing a movie is managing personalities and making decisions. You have to be very rational. You have to schedule. It works really well with my personality because I'm very creative, but I can also do accounting and put things in order.
"I wanted to be a scientist when I was a kid. I was good at math, and directing fulfills that side of me."
Now she's ready to move forward. And by that, Delpy means she's working like mad on a variety of other projects. She's co-writing a possible follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the beloved films she made with Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke. She has written a comedy, a period piece and a thriller.
"I don't want to stop. I love working so much," Delpy says.
She has been promoting 2 Days in New York, which comes at a price. Son Leo is back in L.A. with his dad and her boyfriend, German film composer Marc Streitenfeld.
"It's hard because I've been away from him for two weeks, and I'll be away for another two weeks," she says. "It's the longest we've been apart, and it's so painful."