- Title: Stakes are high for Luc Besson's "Valerian"
- Date: 12th July 2017
- Summary: TAIPEI, TAIWAN (FILE - AUGUST 19, 2014) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** VARIOUS OF BESSON AND WIFE, PRODUCER VIRGINIE BESSON-SILLA AT 'LUCY' NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 26th July 2017 01:35
- Keywords: Luc Besson Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Dane DeHaan Cara Delevingne sci-fi fantasy cinematic gamble
- Location: BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES; UNIDENTIFIED FILMING LOCATIONS
- City: BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES; UNIDENTIFIED FILMING LOCATIONS
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Film
- Reuters ID: LVA0076PETC25
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: At the age of 10, French director Luc Besson stumbled across a comic strip in a magazine at a newspaper kiosk and an obsession was born.
The comic was 'Valerian and Laureline' and now, nearly 50 years on, Besson has finally adapted it into the big screen sci-fi fantasy 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets'.
The film follows two 'spatio-temporal' agents, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who are trying to uncover how a mysterious force has appeared at the heart of the intergalactic space station - the city of a thousand planets.
Shot mostly on blue screen, nearly every frame of 'Valerian' is packed with extravagant details of alien life and culture. Asked whether the amount of not-yet realised details on set were problematic for the actors, model and actress Cara Delevingne said "It's completely overwhelming but at the same time when you're working with Luc, who has wanted to do this project since he was a kid - he knows every character, every situation, every environment so well that when he describes it, it's almost like you're there so he was the best tour guide of Alpha and the universe as anyone could have."
There have been numerous trade reports stating that the success of 'Valerian' with its alleged $225 million budget is crucial for Besson's studio EuropaCorp, which has suffered from a string of box office flops and recently announced a reported annual loss of $136 million.
"It's papers, newspapers building things. There's no gamble," said a dismissive Besson. He went on to explain "'Valerian' was financing at almost 95 per cent so there's no gamble. You take risks when you do a first time director movie at 8 million and no cast. That's a gamble, you take a risk. The film was presold around the world. Almost 120 countries bought the rights so we have pre-sold the film because they liked the script. If they hadn't liked the script, I wouldn't have had the money to do it."
One risk Besson did make with the film is hand-picking the lead cast of DeHaan and Delevingne after meeting them both separately over breakfast, which DeHaan described as "so overwhelming and so surreal that I didn't even know what was happening."
Besson is keen to make 'Valerian' into a franchise but says that audiences' response and not the film's financial earnings will be the deciding factor of whether to make a sequel.
The French director historically has a knack of creating films which have garnered international appeal. His last feature film 'Lucy', which starred Scarlett Johansson, made over $450 million dollars worldwide.
The secret of his success, Besson told Reuters, was honesty. "If you're honest, someone, somewhere, some day will be hit by it. Someone will see it one day and at the end of the day, the numbers don't count."
'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' goes on release internationally from July 20.
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