French director Luc Besson earned a place in science fiction history with his futuristic vision in The Fifth Element in 1997, and recently revisited the genre with Lucy in 2014. Now, Besson is coming back to the genre with the adaptation of the French comic series Valérian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières.
The comic follows spatio-temporal agents Valerian and Laureline as they travel the universe through time and space. Titled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the movie is visually stunning (as seen in the trailers) and features over 200 different alien species, so it’s no surprise that Valerian has become France’s most expensive film to date.
Cineuropa shares that Besson’s new sci-fi adventure was made on a €197.47 million budget, according to a report published by CNC in 2016, making it the most expensive production in French film history. The number one spot was previously held by Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008) with a €78 million budget – an adventure-fantasy film which, by the way, received the “Gérard du cinéma” for “Worst French film made in 2007”.
Another film by EuropaCorp makes it into the top 10 biggest budget French films of 2016: Renegades (originally titled The Lake), a French-German action thriller directed by Steven Quale and written and produced by Luc Besson. Renegades was made on a €66.19 million budget and is scheduled for a September 1 release.
Set in the 28th century, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets follows spatio-temporal agents Valerian (played by Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) who, as an assignment from the Minister of Defense, undertake a mission to Alpha – an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all over the universe. While most of Alpha’s inhabitants have united their talents and resources for the betterment of all, there are unseen forces at work, placing our race in danger. Also starring are Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Kris Wu, and John Goodman.
This film marks Besson’s big return to space opera, and with a universe as rich as Valerian’s, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the budget was so high. It’s worth noting that, although an English-language film, Valerian is a 100 percent French production, which judging by the trailers released so far, will take the audience through an incredible visual ride with multiple alien species and various planets to explore.