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Luc Besson: 'Valerian' is reaction to 'dark' Hollywood sci-fi

All Headlines 19:22 August 22, 2017

By Chang Dong-woo

SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- French filmmaker Luc Besson on Tuesday described his latest space epic "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" as his reaction to the "dark" Hollywood sci-fi stereotypes of today.

"Recently in lots of big sci-fi from Hollywood, what's written on the page is very dark. The aliens are coming and destroy everything. We need superpowers, superheroes to defend us and the aliens get punished," Besson said during a press conference at Yongsan CGV theater in central Seoul.

Besson was in Seoul to promote "Valerian," starring an international ensemble cast that includes Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna and Ethan Hawke. The movie is based on the French comics series "Valerian and Laureline," first launched in the '60s.

French director Luc Besson speaks to reporters on Aug. 22, 2017, during a press conference for his new movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" at Yongsan CGV theater in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

The director added, "Most of the time, it's raining and it's dark. I'm not saying I'm against that. But I'm reacting to that."

"I'm trying to propose something where all the aliens are friendly. Villains are us (humans) as usual and heroes don't have superpowers,' Besson said.

The French director, whose past works include "The Big Blue" (1988), "Leon: The Professional" (1994) and "The Fifth Element" (1998), also said he wanted make his protagonists heroic but also relatable.

"The heroes are two cops. And by the way, the hero is a little stupid and is pretentious."

The film follows government special operatives Valerian and Laureline who race to uncover an inter-planetary conspiracy to safeguard the universe. The movie touches upon themes like ethnic cleansing, environmental conservation and corrupt power.

"I was amazed to see all the themes from the '70s and the '80s and how actual they are now. Because they were already talking about protecting the environment, they were already talking about living together, about racism," Besson said.

On questions related to the inevitable comparison to George Lucas' "Star Wars" series, Besson said he's a "big fan" of Lucas but noted that "Valerian" and the "Star Wars" franchise are different in storytelling.

"Most of it ('Star Wars') is very Greek mythology. It's about the power of the good and the bad, it's the relation between the father and the son ... This has nothing to do with 'Valerian,'" further explaining that his movie is about "Mr. and Mrs. unknown cops in space."

This promotional image provided by South Korea's Pan Cinema shows Director Luc Besson (center back), along with Dane DeHaan (L) and Cara Delevingne (R), the lead stars of "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets." (Yonhap)


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