Next summer audiences will get to see acclaimed French director Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. While Besson’s last film was the the science fiction/action flick Lucy with Scarlett Johansson, Valerian looks to be putting the director back in grand space opera territory, similar to his cult sci-fi favorite The Fifth Element. As more details about this ambitious comic book adaptation begin to surface, we are now getting more details about what other filmmakers will be involved.
One of Besson’s most frequent collaborators over the years has been composer Eric Serra, but it now appears Besson is trading up for an Oscar-winner. As revealed by the filmmaker via Instagram, the score for Valerian will be handled by Alexandre Desplat instead.
The message for this post reads, “Sadly the composer Alexandre Desplat have to leave the “Black Star”… but he find a new home in “the city of a thousand planets”. Welcome on board of ‘Valerian’ maestro!!!!” Besson is clearly not being coy in this news, even if it is just an Instagram post. Valerian will feature a score by Desplat.
Desplat is coming off of a busy year, as he has composed scores for films including The Secret Life of Pets, The Light Between Oceans, Florence Foster Jenkins and the upcoming American Pastoral. The acclaimed composer has received 7 Oscar nominations and 1 win for 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Desplat has become one of the busiest well-known working composers today, to the point that he can no longer score Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, because his schedule can’t fit it in.
This should generate further excitement, as Besson’s films tend to have an off-kilter attitude about them. It bodes well for scores that mix some traditional soundtrack elements with his own personality that tends to shine through in his features. Films like Leon or La Femme Nikita may not have themes that are immediately recognizable, but the work Besson got out of Serra always brought a level of emotion that helped steer focus towards the characters with the action being a fun bonus to go on top. Given what was seen by many at Comic-Con, during Valerian‘s footage presentation, a lot of crazy things are going to happen in this film, but Desplat should be able to bring out what is necessary to have us latch onto these characters.
One just has to hope it all does not sound too familiar to other projects. Valerian feels like a chance for audiences to see a science fiction film that breaks away from the familiar mold that has been formed when it comes to mainstream features. That does not make them all bad (and there are certainly plenty of standouts), but it will be great to see if another major studio production can find a way to leave its mark. Having Besson and Desplat working together (along with all the other filmmakers involved) certainly may help give Valerian a chance.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets hits U.S. theaters on July 21st, 2017.
Source: Luc Besson