Over the past nine years, fans of the sleeper hit "Before Sunrise" (search) have been left in the dark.
Did American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Frenchwoman Celine (Julie Delpy) reconnect in Vienna six months later, as they'd promised each other at the end of the film?
The long-awaited answer comes in "Before Sunset," (search) which hits theaters this weekend.
Hawke and Delpy re-team with director Richard Linklater (search), with whom they wrote the screenplay, and reveal that their characters never did rendezvous.
But nine years later, Jesse and Celine end up spending a couple of hours together wandering around Paris, catching up on lost time.
"In most movies, their initial meeting would take five minutes," Delpy told the New York Post. "Then they'd have sex and have lots of problems. We decided to make it more real."
Hawke told FOX News that working on this movie "is the kind of job where if you did your job really well, it won't seem like you're acting at all."
"All my favorite writing is stuff that feels more revealing," Hawke, who is separated from wife Uma Thurman, told the Post. "With a movie that doesn't have any clear dramatic arc, it's got to have a lot of heart and be as honest as possible. Many romantic movies are so fraudulent — you don't make out in the rain!"
Jesse, now a novelist living in New York, is making a book appearance at a local bookstore when Celine walks in.
During their conversation, Celine and Jesse gradually reveal that they have unfinished romantic business between them.
"We all do," said Delpy, 34. "We all have that."
"Whether or not you have it for real or it's a fantasy," added Hawke, 33, "you have this feeling there's somebody out there. Did I miss them?"
Despite the passage of nearly a decade and the fact that they're involved with other people, Jesse and Celine's mutual attraction is once again immediate.
They only have a short time before Jesse has to fly back home, and spend it sharing coffee and cigarettes in a cafe, walking the streets and cruising on a tourist boat.
The movie takes place in real time and the characters chatter non-stop.
The dialogue "never seems stilted," praises an Associated Press review, and "it springs organically and meanders everywhere like real conversations do, from small talk about their jobs into heavier territory about their relationships."
For the past nine years, Hawke, Delpy and Linklater said they have been preoccupied with the fate of the characters, who continued to exist for each of them.
"Whenever the three of us got together, we all talked about it," Linklater told the New York Post.
"Finally, in 1999, we all thought, 'We have to do it.' It's like a relationship itself — can you go back?"
If the right ideas strike them down the road, Delpy, Hawke and Linklater said they might consider future films about Jesse and Celine, possibly even carrying their romantic saga into old age.
"I think that would be the best one, with us in our 70s," Hawke said. "I would just be incredibly happy if we were that old and still friends and still interested in the same subject matter. That would be pretty exciting."
Delpy told FOX News that the theme is timeless.
"Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone wants to love. Everyone wants to connect with someone."
FOX News' Amy C. Sims and The Associated Press contributed to this report.