Two months back, it was announced that Luc Besson would finally be returning to the space opera. It’s been almost twenty years since his wonderfully weird 1997 epic, The Fifth Element, blew us away and his return to this science fiction subgenre is a welcome one. The film, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, is an adaptation of Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres’ classic 1967 comic series and is set to star Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne.
Granted a budget of $180 million due to the success of his sci-fi actioner Lucy last year, Valerian is poised to be the largest and most elaborate film of Besson’s career. With so much riding on the project, Besson has been determined to knock it out of the park. So much so that he’s been working on it for years and actually tossed his script for the previous incarnation of the project.
Why? Because of James Cameron’s Avatar. I’ll let Besson himself explain, via his Comic-Con interview with Heat Vision…
“This is the biggest adventure of my life. I saw Avatar and had to throw the script into the garbage. It was too normal, it was not good enough. All the directors in the world have to thank him because every five years he comes out with a movie and pushes us.”
Besson describes the film as a love story, set against a larger tale of good versus evil, that takes place on a spaceship only 12 miles in diameter containing millions of lifeforms. He also said to expect the film to have a different structure to its tale, as he has tired of the standard straightforward approach to pulp storytelling.
The filmmaker apparently showed off a good deal of production art for Valerian and detailed how he pooled talent not from the usual industry regulars, but from art schools all around the globe. He has promised to have much more to show off from the project at Comic-Con next year, as the film will begin shooting in January. Production will run for 6 months, followed by a hefty amount of post-production as he crafts the film for a 2017 release.
It’s clear that this is another passion project for the auteur on level with the aforementioned The Fifth Element, something which absolutely delights me as a viewer. While Valerian will undoubtedly bring forth its own brand of crazy and weird from the director, it’s hard not to get excited when Besson utters statements like this…
“The Fifth Element is a short film compared to this. This is the biggest adventure of my life.”