Luc Besson interview

The making of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was a long journey for writer and director Luc Besson, who started reading the work of comic book writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières when he was 10 years old. He brought the comic and its two galaxy-saving agents, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), to life with a giddy, exuberant race-against-the-clock sci-fi adventure earlier this year. Besson’s dreams (and his hard work) shows in every one of the film’s environments, which shine bright with the sort of color absent in most of today’s blockbusters.

While Valerian didn’t catch on with American audiences when it was released over the summer, Besson appears hopeful that more people will come around to his movie, which he believes is best on the second watch. We recently spoke to Besson at a press day for the Blu-Ray release of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, where he discussed the reaction to the movie, that big market sequence, and much more.

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Blu-ray releases 1128

(Welcome to Not Dead Yet, a feature dedicated to what’s new on Blu-ray and what special features you should be excited about. Because yes, some of us still like to own physical copies of our movies.)

Before we kick November to the curb, there’s a slew of great Blu-rays you might want to snap up for your viewing pleasure. As always, we encourage you to remember that while there’s plenty of digital media out there, physical media is still an essential part of a balanced entertainment diet. You can’t beat something tangible, folks. Or maybe you can. But I’m going to hold onto this stubborn belief as long as humanly possible!

This week’s Blu-ray roundup features Kathy Bates breaking a leg (or two), a killer Santa Claus, Kirsten Dunst getting high, a goofy yet inventive space adventure, the best performance of Robert Pattinson’s career, and Jeff Goldblum doing his Jeff Goldblum thing. Here are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week.

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Westworld - Morning Watch

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, find out how the visual effects wizards behind Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets created the massive city of Alpha. Plus, take way too much time to think about how bullets work on HBO’s Westworld, and see how Bruce Wayne’s charity Thanksgiving event goes wrong on Saturday Night Live. Read More »

lucy 2

Lucy was the film that helped launch star Scarlett Johansson into the coveted “bankable movie star” category, proving that the prestige actress-turned-Avenger could carry a successful blockbuster movie. Why that hasn’t translated into a Black Widow movie yet, we’ll never know, but it has translated into a sequel for the commercially successful 2014 sci-fi film.

Director Luc Besson is currently working on a script for Lucy 2, with Besson’s EuropaCorp confirming that the sequel is officially moving forward. And you can thank his more recent movie, the massive box office bomb Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, for that.

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Valerian 2

Did you see Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets? Don’t lie, you absolutely did not. No one did. But despite that, director Luc Besson still wants to make a Valerian sequel and claims it could happen.

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Jupiter Ascending Poster

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: why the failure of Valerian the City of a Thousand Planets allows it to join the club of overlooked space fantasy that already includes the magnificent Jupiter Ascending.)

I saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets last week in a practically empty theater, and I left with a smile on my face. Once again Luc Besson gave us a fully immersive, beautiful universe, a romantic fantasy quest in an extraterrestrial setting, with a powerful message similar to that of The Fifth Element: Love conquers all. Inspired by the French comic books by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières, Luc Besson took us on a welcome journey to somewhere colorful and hopeful, welcome in a year filled with darker sci-fi tales like Life and Alien: Covenant. And yet, no one saw Valerian. It is destined to join the ranks of movies that we discuss for their financial failures instead of their successes.

One close cousin to Valerian is the Wachowski’s delightful 2015 space opera, Jupiter Ascending. Perhaps the reason I so enjoyed Valerian was because I also happen to be a part of another small group that adored this visionary take on a space fairy tale starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum. Admittedly, my love for Jupiter Ascending was a bit of a slow burn. It wasn’t until I went to bed the night after watching it that I realized how wonderful it really was. The more times I watched it, the more my love grew. It’s the kind of movie that I imagine watching with my future children and yet, I rarely ever get to talk to people who actually went to see it or have bothered to rent it. However when I do find someone who is part of this club, we have conversations built of pure joy and enthusiasm.

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Luc Besson interview

When filmmaker Luc Besson was 10 years old, he was reading the comic book he’d adapt into a massive feature film 48 years later. Based on Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières‘ “Ambassador of Shadows,” published in 1975, Besson has brought their colorful, wacky world to to the big screen with his personal touch on every frame. From the complex, clever set pieces to the jokes to the colorful environments, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is pure Besson.

In a race against the clock, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) will have to save the city of Alpha, where alien species from all over the galaxy come together to share knowledge. The world feels endless, full of all sorts of aliens, characters, and environments. It took many years it took to build this world piece-by-piece, and the French director behind La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element recently told us about the process.

Below, check out our Luc Besson interview.

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Valerian 2

French filmmaker Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) has Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets coming out this week, but he’s already hard at work writing the script for Valerian 3. What’s that, now? Oh, Valerian 2? Pssh, that script is already done. Who do you think you’re dealing with, here? This is Besson, baby! He finished that sucker a month ago, got bored in the interim, and started crafting yet another sequel.

While he may or may not ever get to make those films, Besson is secure in the knowledge that the first Valerian movie can’t bomb because of the way he and his wife, producer Virginie Besson-Silla, raised the financing for it. Or, perhaps more accurately, he knows that even if the first film becomes a notorious flop, he’s not in danger of being locked in director’s jail because of it.
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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Clips

Arriving later this month will be a brand new sci-fi adventure from director Luc Besson, the filmmaker behind The Fifth Element, and some new clips from the film have just arrived to show off the lush, diverse alien universe from the movie.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is based on an acclaimed, beloved graphic novel set in the 28th century, where a city called Alpha has a massive metropolis of species from across the universe. One of the new clips gives us a proper introduction Alpha and some of the unique aliens who inhabit the city while the rest offer up some of the exciting action we’ll see Dane De Haan (Chronicle) and Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad) partaking in.

Watch the Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets clips down below. Read More »

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Valerian opening scene

Update: A new clip from the film has arrived online and we’ve added it below.

Ever since the first trailer for The Fifth Element director Luc Besson’s sci-fi film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets premiered, I had a sinking feeling that the movie could be one of those films that’s beloved by the people who seek it out, but had the potential to be largely ignored by general moviegoing audiences. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it bombs at the box office but ultimately gains a cult classic reputation on home video.

But it looks like the film’s distributor is doing everything it their power to avoid that outcome, and they’ve made a pretty savvy move to make sure as many people as possible know that Valerian exists: the entire unedited opening scene will play in front of Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming in select theaters next week.
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