Luc Besson is really gluing his ass to the director’s chair. Though he directed a good handful of movies since 2000 (Angel-A, three Arthur and the Invisibles films, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-sec, and The Lady) his directorial output has seemed to take a back seat to writing and producing efforts. (Admittedly, that could be an inaccurate perception based on those films’ presence in North America; in Europe, it may not seem as if Besson had any lull at all.)

Regardless, Besson now has three big directorial projects lined up. One is an action thriller in which Angelina Jolie will star; that will shoot in early 2013 after Maleficent is done. Another is an adaptation of the late ’60s French comic series Valerian, which Besson will write and direct.

And then there is Malavita, the “darkly comedic crime thriller” that already has been set to star Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, and which just added Tommy Lee Jones. Read More »

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Lockout doesn’t boast the most original premise in the world — it’s perfectly obvious why it’s drawn comparisons to both Taken and Escape From New York — but there’s at least one good reason to keep an eye out for this film, and that’s star Guy Pearce. The reliably compelling Aussie actor plays up his badass/smartass side as Agent Snow, a former government agent who’s wrongly been convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. He’s offered a chance to go free, if he can save the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from violent inmates at a maximum security prison… in space!

FilmDistrict has released the first five minutes of the movie, which see Pearce getting pummeled quite a bit for making cheeky remarks instead of explaining what happened in that hotel room, before showing us what really did happen in that hotel room. Watch it after the jump.

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The movie Lockout, in which Guy Pearce plays a Snake Plissken-like character charged with rescuing a bigwig’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from a satellite prison, came almost out of nowhere last year. We knew the film was coming together, but then the first clips of footage suggested that it aspires to be more fun, cheeky and Escape From New York-like than we’d expected. Response to the early footage was strong.

At WonderCon this weekend, a five-minute clip was shown to audiences, and that clip is now online. It covers a lot of ground, from a desperate fight scene/setpiece to Pearce administering one of the most stomach-churning emergency medical procedures we’re likely to see in a film this spring. Read More »

Briefly: We heard very recently that Luc Besson might make new live-action thriller, possibly with some sci-fi aspect, and that Angelina Jolie is in talks to star. We still don’t know many details about the movie, and in fact Jolie isn’t even 100% locked. But now Universal has picked up a controlling distribution interest in the project, which should give it a lot more momentum.

Deadline reports that while Luc Besson’s company EuropaCorp will co-finance the movie (it also developed the story that Besson wrote) it will be Universal that releases the film in the US and many other territories. EuropaCorp plans to shoot the still-untitled movie in April 2012. Plotwise, all we know is that the film has been called “a dramatic thriller that is rooted in true scientific elements.”

And while the details aren’t all ironed out, Deadline suggests that things are pretty close to being sorted, and that this will be Jolie’s next starring role before she does Ridley Scott’s Gertrude Bell biopic, Disney’s Maleficent, or the film version of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta mysteries.

Luc Besson was never really very far from the director’s chair, but it has felt that way for some time, because it has been a while since he made a movie with the massive American mainstream recognizance of The Professional or The Fifth Element. Besson’s longest absence from the director’s chair was from ’99 to ’05, but in the past decade he has really become as well known for writing and producing mid-budget action films like The Transporter and Taken as he is for his own directorial efforts.

Things might be swinging back to the old days. The Lady, the film in which Besson directed Michelle Yeoh as Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi, is getting a lot of attention as it moves from festivals to a regular engagement near you. And now Besson has Angelina Jolie in talks to star in a ‘dramatic thriller’ that Besson wrote and will direct next year. Read More »

In the past several years, Luc Besson‘s name attached to a movie usually meant two things: he didn’t direct it and it’s a cheesy action film. Since The Fifth Element in 1997, Besson has directed a few films, but he’s produced many more and it felt like the man who made Leon: The Professional and La Femme Nikita was just waiting for some inspiration. Maybe he was waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi.

A Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of a Burmese General who was murdered in 1947, eventually leading to the military taking control of the country. Years later she left Burma to go to school but in 1988, after marrying a foreigner and having two sons in Oxford, she returned and immediately took her father’s place as the head of a pro-Democracy movement in the beautiful but violently oppressed country. Over twenty years and several terrible hardships later, she’s still struggling today.

This is the story of The Lady, and it’s a return to form for a more mature Besson.  It’s not flashy, it’s not action-packed, it’s just Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, David Thewlis as her husband Michael (and his twin brother) and one of the most incredible true stories of standing up against evil imaginable. The film recently played at the AFI Fest Presented by Audi, opens on December 2 and you can read more after the jump. Read More »

So, that Americanized version of Pierre Morel’s French thriller District 13 we reported on back in 2009 is still happening, and it may have just found one of its stars. Paul Walker has entered negotiations to join the cast of the remake, which will be titled Brick Mansions and relocated to a city in the States (probably Chicago).

But the news isn’t all bad! Also on board is David Belle, who starred in the original and its sequel but will be playing a different character here. Plus, the script comes from Luc Besson, who co-wrote the original, and Robert Mark Kamen, who collaborated with Besson on Taken. More details after the jump.

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Throughout last year, we heard rumors of writer/producer/director Luc Besson going back to big sci-fi, but his latest directorial effort turned out to be something very different. Rather than returning to a genre in which he has already established a beachhead, Besson chose instead to chronicle the life of Burmese political activist Aung San Suu Kyi, with Michelle Yeoh in the lead role.

The result is The Lady, and a trailer for the film shows Besson applying his well-established methodology of blending effective actors with big, memorable images. Read More »

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