There are several actresses who can boast the title of “Former Luc Besson Badass Leading Lady,” including Anne Parillaud (La Femme Nikita), Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc), and Zoe Saldana (the Besson-scripted Colombiana). Even Michelle Yeoh, the starlet of Besson’s new historical biopic, The Lady, can arguably boast as much.
It looks like Angelina Jolie is going to become the latest in a long line of Besson’s “muses”; the Oscar-winning actress is currently in negotiations to appear in the French filmmaker’s next dramatic thriller.
Deadline is reporting that “serious talks” are going on for Jolie to headline Besson’s new writing/directing effort. Co-financier EuropaCorp (headed by Besson) is currently looking at a Spring 2012 production start date and has already begun the search for a studio to handle distribution.
This (for now, officially untitled) Besson movie is being described as “a dramatic thriller that is rooted in true scientific elements”. It is also expected to be more a more down-to-Earth and (comparatively) gritty action flick along the lines of La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional, rather than, say, the over-the-top high-octane thrills rides that are the Besson-scripted Transporter movies.
Jolie, who is currently promoting her new directorial effort, In the Land of Blood and Honey, reportedly plans to make the Besson film her next acting project. She will thereafter likely move on to either Ridley Scott’s Gertrude Bell biopic (which she recently became attached to) or Disney’s Maleficent, a re-imagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that Jolie has long been rumored to headline.
However, there is no mention in Deadline‘s report of Jolie looking to star in Sony’s currently-gestating Cleopatra biopic, which she’s also long been connected to. Whether or not that means she’s no longer loosely attached to it is unclear right now.
Besson’s project, as it were, would be more in line with many of Jolie’s previous films, where she got to shoot, punch, kick, and otherwise pummel her enemies into submission (all while looking smokin’ hot) - including blockbusters like the original Tomb Raider movie, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Wanted, and (most recently) the espionage thriller, Salt.
Besson’s The Lady looks to be a rare departure from the cinematic roller coaster rides he’s involved with; his upcoming work slate includes the screenplays for the Taken sequel (a.k.a. Taken 2), the action flick Brick Mansions, and a new sci-fi film that the man has previously described as “‘The Fifth Element’ to the power of 10.” Seeing how those are what he’s best known for (and, arguably, best at making) the news that Besson plans to continue on with that tradition by teaming up with Jolie, should go over well with most moviegoers.
On a sidenote: part of the logic behind director Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming starlet-led dramatic-thriller, Haywire, is that he (and his collaborators) aim to offer an alternative to Besson-style action movies – namely, by producing a film with a more realistic version of the deadly heroine archetype. It will be interesting to see if Besson’s new film goes (or fails to go) a step further, since it is described as being “rooted in true scientific elements” and features Jolie as more of a “realistic” deadly warrior gal than she’s played before.
Look to hear more about the new Jolie/Besson project (including its official title) in the future.