By Jeff Labrecque
January 24, 2012 at 10:45 AM EST
Walter Thomson/Polaris Films

Beloved alum Julie Delpy was back at Sundance last night to unveil her new film, 2 Days in New York, a sequel to 2007’s 2 Days in Paris in which her crazy French family comes to visit her and her new live-in boyfriend played by Chris Rock. Marion and Mingus make an unexpected couple, but Delpy, who directed and co-wrote the script, said after the screening that Rock was her only choice. “I realized I couldn’t have a sequel to this film with the same boyfriend because it would be too much like Sunset/Sunrise,” she told a packed house at the Eccles Theatre in Park City, Utah, reminding them that Adam Goldberg played her boyfriend in the original. “Here, I wanted Marion to be this person that keeps on trying to make it work with different men. The first person I thought of when I started writing was Chris … I know it sounds weird, but when I would I write I would say [the words] as him — I would channel my inner Chris Rock.”

Rock loved the script, but he had one concern. “I read it, and I immediately thought, ‘So is Ethan Hawke dead? What’s going on?’ And after I talked to Ethan and realized he wasn’t dead, I agreed to do the movie.”

In the sequel, Marion invites her recently widowed father — played by her real-life father, Albert — to visit her and her grandson, and he brings with him two familiar faces: sexually-competitive sister, Rose (co-writer Alexia Landeau), and deadbeat boyfriend, Manu (co-writer Alexandre Nahon). (The original also featured Delpy’s late mother, Marie Pillet, and the sequel is dedicated to her memory.) Their arrival couldn’t come at a more tense time, as Marion’s art exhibit, in which she is auctioning off her soul, is about to open. It fetches $5,000 from Vincent Gallo, playing himself. “I was thinking like who in the world would actually buy this piece of conceptual art,” said Delpy. “And I know Vincent very well, and I was like, ‘Vincent would buy it!’ And then I sent the script to Vincent and he’s like, ‘You know what, I’m the kind of person who would buy that kind of work,’ so it was perfect.”

In addition to jousting with Delpy when their relationship suffers under the strain of in-law overdose, Rock paired onscreen with an even bigger star: President Obama. In his character’s home office resides a life-size cardboard cutout of the prez and Mingus consults with him when he has no other place to turn. “I’ve actually talked to Barack,” Rock boasted, before joking, “They cut out the whole thing where me and Barack smoke a joint.”

Read more:

Octavia Spencer on her first Sundance film, and her Oscar nomination slumber party — VIDEO

Sundance 2012: Inside Spike Lee’s shocking, ranting ‘Red Hook Summer’ premiere

Sundance 2012: EW exclusive pics!