We got to spend some time with director Luc Besson, producer Virginie Besson-Silla, and actors Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan for the Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets press conference.
Director Luc Besson, producer Virginie Besson-Silla, Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad), Dane De Haan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) were at San Diego Comic-Con to talk about their upcoming sci-fi epic film, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Luc had been a fan of the French comics, “Valerian et Laureline,” which was his Internet when he was a child, and since he knew the comics so well, he already knew what he was looking for. Cara and Dane just happened to fit the image he had of Valerian and Laureline.
Dane explained the process of figuring out what Luc wanted, and it took about a week for Dane and Cara to understand:
“It took maybe, I’d say a week of being on set with Luc and hearing what he wanted and who he thought Valerian was. It was a process, and it was almost something that was an unspoken exploration, but when I got it, he always let me know I got it. And slowly, I think Valerian was formed. By the end, we had this language to go back and forth to make the characters come to life. The characters were there. We lived with them for so long that they were just a part of us.” – Dane
Cara added he thoughts on the matter, explaining the organic element of the process:
“really felt that he kind of wanted to reach that place naturally as well. To kind of guide us instead of telling us what he wanted. It was”
Luc also explained the difficulty for the actors to catch the flow of the character while using the blue screen, which much of scenes from the movie were made with.
Although not a big sci-fi fan, Virginie was attracted to the script as well as the relationship dynamic between Valerian and Laureline.
Cara found playing Laureline to be incredibly rewarding, especially with Luc as the director
Dane and Cara’s chemistry seemed to work in a way that they leveled out each other, her easy going and carefree nature to his serious one, and vice versa. They had guided each other through the filming.
Luc talks about how he had someone draw up the concept art of all the creatures in the film, to which Cara seemed very impressed with. Several of the art was presented at the Valerian panel in Hall H, which were definitely quite amazing.
Regarding Chinese actor Kris Wu, Luc explained his character as being a captain in the army. He didn’t have a problem with his acting, however, Luc revealed it was the screaming fans that apparently were near the sets that caused some issues. English-wise, Luc did say Kris had to work on it, as he couldn’t understand him, but joked that he couldn’t understand even himself sometimes because of his own accent.
When asked (by me) about the physical challenges of playing the character and making that character their own, Dane had this to say:
“It was a super physical film. It’s a lot of what it’s about when you make a film like this and you have to look like someone who can save the universe.” He continued, saying, “you then have to look like someone who can save the universe. The training for me was a huge part, not only how I looked physically, but also the mentality going into each day. I would kinda just show up in the morning and work out before we get to set, and it would just pump me up for the day. It would just kind of put me in that Valerian mentality, ready to take on challenges, put me in a super-positive mood and made me able to do what was asked of me. Valerian’s a really great soldier; he can do a lot of different things and he’s very physically capable so it was important that I got stronger and faster throughout the process.”
This was the fifth film that Virginie and Luc had worked together on a film and it was easy for them and they made a real good team. Luc said that before they had done anything together, they were nervous to do it because of how it could affect their family life, but once they started it was quite fun.
When asked about what makes Valerian distinct from other science fiction movies, Luc said that people will see it right away if he did his job well, and Dane gave the credit all to Luc for his unique style.
You can see the whole press conference below, courtesy of Nerdophiles:
I was able to go to the Valerian panel in Hall H (this was on a very slow Thursday at Comic-Con, thus I didn’t have to camp out overnight or wait hours in line to get in) and they did show several small scenes from the film, which included a first look at Ethan Hawke and singer/actress Rihanna.
I don’t want to really give up what the clips consisted of, but you can definitely see Besson’s unique style. If you’ve seen The Fifth Element, then you’ve seen his style. And if you liked The Fifth Element, I have a feeling you’ll like this movie as well.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets also stars Clive Owen, John Goodman, and Rutger Hauer and is scheduled to land in theaters July 21, 2017..