The Fifth Element is such a great movie. It’s a mess, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so fun in its messiness—I’ll always take a little mess in exchange for ambitious, original ideas. But it was also a huge financial disaster, and director Luc Besson didn’t make another live-action science fiction movie until last year’s Lucy. That was a relatively modest effort, but it was enough to get Besson back in the sci-fi saddle as he announced today via Twitter, with his first tweets on the platform, that he’ll be adapting the French comic books Valerian and Laureline into a movie called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
My first tweet ever! Let’s share a real news! My next film is a big sci-fi: #Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.— Luc Besson (@lucbesson) May 12, 2015
The title kind of bums me out because it excludes Laureline, who in the comics is a co-lead alongside Valerian. She’s not a sidekick, she’s Valerian’s partner, and she’s super smart and capable and motivated in her own right. She’s actually the template for Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) in The Fifth Element, to give you an idea of Laureline’s character. So it sucks that she’s being relegated to the sidelines by the movie. It’d be nice if the movie was just called Valerian and Laureline and no one ever said the word “sidekick”.
It especially sucks because Laureline will be played by Cara Delevingne, which is a great piece of casting. The last time Besson put a model in a sci-fi space epic we got Milla Jovovich as Leeloo, which is still a great, weird performance, up there with Lori Petty’s vastly underrated turn as Tank Girl. Here’s hoping that Delevingne follows in those footsteps and Laureline steals the movie from Valerian (who will be played by Dane DeHaan). Maybe Besson is pulling a Mad Max on us and he’ll package the movie like it’s the hero’s story but really it’s about the heroine all along.
Attached- Cara Delevingne at the MET Gala.