Valerian

What’s it like working with a performer like Rihanna? 

Since the beginning for me, Rihanna is Bubble. Bubble is the ultimate artist, you know, she has the freedom, she can do whatever, she can change, and actually for me that’s what Rihanna is. She has a freedom, like no-one is holding her. She can do whatever she wants at her own rhythm and she’s creative and she’s working with different people and I can feel since the beginning that she has something she can play for sure. I knew it, I knew she can play. And she’s very … She’s emotional in the film.

I really enjoy where that storyline goes in the second act because it seems like things could be going off-track, but all of that just worked for me.

Have you seen it once or twice?

I’ve seen it once.

The second time is the best. It’s really the best because the film is so much of shards. When you’re watching sci-fi today, driven ninety percent by Marvel and DC Comics, there’s feeling, there’s a pattern, there’s a thing, and then we get used to it. And if you’re watching in the history of art, in a kitchen … In cooking, painting, music, every time something weird or strange, a sound, arrived, you’re like, “Whoa!”

And sometimes, especially for a song, for an album, the first time you hear it you’re like … You know, and then you hear it twice and third time and after like a couple of times, yeah, you get the thing. I think Valerian, like The Fifth Element twenty years ago, it’s the same. There’s so much different things in the film, that you can’t embrace it in one sitting. It’s almost impossible. There is too much. So that’s why I’m very happy that the people will have the DVD because they can watch it quietly at home twice or three times and watch all the details.

And there’s the reverse, you see a film and you say “Yeah, that was great!” And you watch it again a year later and, you know, the charm is not there anymore. It was like fast food.

Time has been kind to your movies. Does time ever affect your relationship or thoughts on your work?

They are my children, so I love them all. I love them at ten years old, at twenty years old, at 2 years old.

So you feel the same way about this film today as you did 2 years ago?

Yeah.

Going back to the beginning of working on Valerian, what about the comics did you want to stay true to?

No, it’s more the relation between the the two. The fact that, and it’s probably why in the US it was more complicated, because the guy is not, he’s not Schwarzenegger. He’s not like a big guy. And he’s stupid, most of the time. He’s pretentious. He’s like, “I’m the best!” And she’s like, “No, you’re not the best, you’re just a fucker, get out.” This relation, she’s ruling the boat, she’s ruling the day. And that’s, for me, the reflection of the society today. Men are a bunch of pretentious guys – my car, my house, my money, my credit cards. We like to show off like this. Who is ruling the house? The kids and the holidays and who is ruling, in fact, the thing that make us to chill and say, “Come back on Earth,” it’s the women. You know, and when they’re in charge, politically or professionally, they’re stronger.

We’re a bunch of warriors, like hunters, and I want to show that, I want to show that in the film. To show that, yeah, he’s in charge, he’s the major, but he’s not big and and he’s not a superhero at all. At all. But he can be heroic, if he has to save his girl he will die. He’s heroic.

But the entire principle, like, the superhero with super power, it’s very difficult for me. It’s very difficult because I don’t have super power.

You can’t relate.

No, I can’t relate. And so I just have to say, “Oh thank you, thank you to save me.” No, I want to save, I want to die, trying. My grandfather was a farmer, he went to war and he fight. He was heroic. He doesn’t have super power. But he participated, and he almost died for it. That’s what I like, that’s the characters that I like.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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