Interview: Director Luc Besson Ran A Tight Ship On ‘Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets’

Luc Besson Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets interview 

Luc Besson returns to the science fiction genre with VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS. The director of such classics as THE FIFTH ELEMENT and THE PROFESSIONAL doesn’t fool around on set, and if anyone is not ready to go at the set time, he admits he yells on set including at his leading lady.

At the trailer launch for a new VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS trailer in Los Angeles, the French filmmaker and one of his stars, Cara Delevingne introduced the new preview and talked about the smooth production.

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is based on the ground-breaking comic book series by the same name. Besson and his company EuropaCorp licensed the book for a film adaptation. Set in the 28th century, special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. The two are sent on a mission to uncover the city of Alpha-a metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and cultures with each other.  A dark force  threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and the fate of the future is in the hands of Valerian and Laureline.

Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Luc Besson runs a tight ship when it comes to his productions. He expects everyone to be prompt so they can wrap the day by 7pm so his crew can go home to their families.

“I like to start on time because I love to let the people go on time because they have families. They have kids and I don’t want to abuse them for 2 hours.”

If filming doesn’t start at its scheduled time, Besson admits he loses his cool.

“If we say we start at 11 then at 11:01 I’m screaming,” says the French filmmaker. He points to his star Delevingne who sits next to him during the interview. On her first day, he scolded the young actress for showing up late. ‘She said, Luc, it’s only one minute.’ I said, I don’t care.”

Director Luc Besson, Dane DeHaan and Cara DelevingneBesson’s strictness paid off. The production never went past 7pm nor did they require any overnight shoots. The 23-week shoot finished three days earlier than expected. Besson’s team spent many hours in pre-production hammering out details and readying for the shoot so no delays occurred while filming.   

Besson has a stake in keeping production costs down on his shoots. The director/producer answers to himself as the boss of his production company, EuroCorp, which produced the TRANSPORTER franchise with Jason Statham and the TAKEN trilogy starring Liam Neeson.

As with most Besson-directed films, a strong woman is one of the leads and she can kick butt. In VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, Cara Delevingne follows in the footsteps of Natalie Portman (THE PROFESSIONAL), Scarlett Johansson (LUCY) and Milla Jovovich (THE FIFTH ELEMENT) in a role that’s written as an equal. Besson tells CineMovie he writes women characters with a purpose.  

“I try to treat women and men the same way. Man are supposed to be the strong sex, and the woman the weak sex is what we say all the time, Besson explains.  “What I love is to see the weakness in the man and the strength in the woman. That’s what I love. Women, they sometimes look very fragile but god what they can do.”

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is in movie theaters July 21.

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