Luc Besson is famous for having co-written such hit Euro-thrillers as The Transporter and Taken (... and he's infamous for having co-written the later sequels), in addition to having made such 1990s cult hits as Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. The filmmaker hit it big at the box office with the Scarlett Johansson-headlined Lucy in 2014 (with a $458 million worldwide gross), and he's now getting prepared for a return trip to the science-fiction playground later this year.
The projet in question is Valerian, a.k.a. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, an adaptation of the Valérian and Laureline French sci-fi comic book series (first written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières) that began all the way back in 1967. Valerian's source material chronicles the life and times of the cosmic adventurer Valerian and his companion Laureline, as they travel across the vast expanses of space and time, encountering various extraterrestrial planets and individuals along the way.
Besson is now officially on Twitter, and to commemorate the occasion he unveiled the official logo for Valerian (which he is writing and directing). He additionally confirmed a December 2015 start date for principal photography (with a 2017 release target in mind) and the film's stars: Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. You can check out the teaser logo/poster for Valerian, below:
DeHaan's bid to become part of a comic book franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hasn't panned out, now that Sony and Marvel Studios have reached a deal to share the webslinger's film rights and reboot the Spider-Man property (... again) in 2017. Meaning, among other things, the planned Sinister Six (which would've featured DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin) has seemingly been abandoned. Nonetheless, the Chronicle and Place Beyond the Pines breakout actor is continuing to make a name for himself on the indie movie circuit - with roles in upcoming films like Two Lovers and a Bear (opposite Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany) - in addition to his Valerian role.
Meanwhile, former model Delevingne is on the verge of breaking out as an actor - between her leading role in this summer's Paper Towns film adaptation, her supporting role in Joe Wright's Peter Pan origins movie Pan in Fall 2015, and her key role as Enchantress in David Ayer's DC comic adaptation Suicide Squad (slated to arrive in Summer 2016). In other words: Delevingne, like DeHaan, is a talent whose acting career is very much on the up and up right now.
Valerian's source comics are much like Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter novels, in that they're landmark works of 20th century sci-fi pop culture that had a clear influence on later sci-fi movies and franchises - including Star Wars and Besson's own Fifth Element - in terms of plot/character elements, other-worldly visual designs, and the tropes which they helped to popularize. Downside is, the Valerian live-action film adaptation may find itself in a position similar to Disney's John Carter: where what may have once been an innovative property might now come off more as derivative, especially to those who are unfamiliar with its historical significance.
On the other hand, Besson's directorial efforts (love them, hate them, or something in between) certainly tend to have an unmistakable style and tone that sets them apart from related genre fare. Besson's previous sci-fi creations, in particular, have certainly proven to be memorable - in multiple meanings of the term - and there will surely be an audience interested in seeing what the filmmaker's new vision of a Star Wars-style space adventure is like.
Combine that with two rising stars and it's fair to say: Valerian has enough going for it that it's worth keeping an eye on, as development on the project continues.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will reach theaters in 2017.
Source: Luc Besson
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