The ‘Before’ trilogy – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight have become iconic films over the years. For every romantic, these films represent that butterflies-in-your-tummy kind of love.
But did know that the story of Before Sunrise is actually based on filmmaker Richard Linklater’s own encounter with a woman in 1989?
If you wait till the end of the credits of Before Midnight, you’ll spot a name to whom the movie has been dedicated, Amy Lehrhaupt. Because almost 31 years ago, Richard and Amy met by chance in Philadelphia at a toy shop and ended up spending the night together, from midnight until six in the morning.
Unlike the characters from the movie that this encounter inspired, Richard and Amy tried to keep in touch, but the long distance thing didn’t work. And so they never met again. However, Richard in various interviews in 2004 spoke about hoping Amy would show up at a screening and they would finally get a second chance.
Even as that experience was going on … I was like, “I’m gonna make a film about this.” And she was like, “What ‘this’? What’re you talking about?” And I was like, “Just this. This feeling. This thing that’s going on between us.”
-Richard Linklater recalls telling Amy that night
However, what Richard didn’t know at that time was that Amy had died in a motorcycle accident on May 9, 1994. A few weeks before the shooting of Before Sunrise had begun. She never knew that there was a man who made a film about their unforgettable night together.
Richard only learned of her death in 2010, five years after the first film’s release. When a friend of Amy’s put the film and the encounter together and informed Richard of what had happened. But Richard still considers her an inspiration behind the film, “Who knows how we reverberate through each other’s lives,” he shared after finding out about her death.
Though Richard didn’t get the second chance he wanted in real life, he made sure that his characters met a better end.