After 91 days of filming, we're over a year away from the premiere of Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The veteran director announced the end of principal photography by sharing a photo of Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad) in front of the camera to his Instagram. In an age where filmmakers are famously protective of the secrets on their sets, Besson’s generosity on social media has given fans a unique glimpse into the production of his latest film.
While 2014’s Scarlett Johansson vehicle Lucy falls under the sci-fi umbrella, Besson hasn’t really unleashed his wild imagination since 1997, when he took us into an overcrowded, colorful, trash-covered vision of the future in The Fifth Element. Despite making an underwhelming splash in theaters, the film has since amassed a large number of fans, and many of them have been eager for the visionary filmmaker to return to the genre.
After thanking his fans in a heartfelt caption on Instagram, Besson wrote, “I still have 10 months of work. I won't post pictures everyday but I promise to continue to share with you as soon as I have something interesting to show you.” Considering the sheer number of blue screens on display in his photos, it should come as no surprise that the filmmaker’s ambitious vision demands over 2,400 visual effects shots to accomplish. Take a look at Besson's photo:
DAY 91 LAST DAY!!!!! LAST SHOT!!!! You don't know how much it helps me to have you around! Your "likes",your kind words give me strength when somedays I don't have so much!!! You were all part of my team and this support was priceless!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart I still have 10 months of work. I won't post pictures everyday but I promise to continue to share with you as soon as I have something interesting to show you. Big kisses from Paris to all of you!! #valerian #caradelevingne #DaneDehaan
It will be interesting to see how thoroughly Besson documents his post-production process. Sharing images of costumes and actors in front of blue screens still leaves a lot to be imagined, but offering glimpses of effects shots may be too much for the director.
Boasting a cast that also includes Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna, and Rutger Hauer, Valerian is based on Valérian and Laureline, a French comic book created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières. Released in 1967, the story follows the adventures of the “spatio-temporal” agents Valérian and Laureline as they journey across time and space. Much like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter series, Valérian and Laureline is regarded by many as a predecessor to some of the most iconic science fiction sagas of our time. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Star Wars.) Of course, Besson doesn’t seem threatened by Disney’s John Carter fiasco, as he and his partners at EuropaCorp are putting $180 million into the tent pole film.
In a risk-averse, source-material obsessed Hollywood, John Carter seems like a reasonable comparison to make when trying to project Valerian’s success. However, Besson himself is the key difference. While Andrew Stanton had done fabulous films with Pixar, he was a novice live-action filmmaker without a signature style. Disney seemed to be investing a considerable amount in the legacy of the source material, whereas a visionary like Besson, whose last sci-fi film is distinguished by his unique style, brings a legacy of his own.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opens in U.S. theaters on July 21st, 2017.
Source: Luc Besson