VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
LUC BESSON (Writer/Director) began his career in cinema in
1977, working a number of assistant positions in France under such directors as
Patrick Grandperret and Claude Faraldo. At the age of 19, he travelled to the US
where he worked as a studio hand. Upon returning to Paris, he was determined to
become a filmmaker.
In 1983, he directed his first feature film, The Last Battle, which earned him a
number of awards including "The Special Jury Award" at the Avoriaz Film
Two years later he directed Subway, starring Isabelle Adjani and Christopher
Lambert. The industry rewarded him with three Cesar Awards. Luc Besson's visual
style was clearly established.
Building on his success, he undertook the direction of the oceanic epic, The Big
Blue. The film gained 10 million admissions and played in French theaters for a
year, eventually becoming a diving cult classic and social phenomenon.
Both La Femme Nikita (1990) and Leon: The Professional (1994) were publicly
acclaimed, solidly establishing his popularity in France and earning him an
His passion for the beauties and mysteries of aquatic life became apparent
through is direction of Atlantis (1991): a documentary aimed at raising
awareness about the need to protect the environment.
In 1995, he launched into directing a bold science fiction picture: The Fifth
Element. The blockbuster became one of the biggest box office hits, both in the
US and in France, of any French film ever made. In 1998, Luc Besson took home a
Cesar Award for "Best Director."
In 1999, he directed Joan of Arc, a film recounting the brave feats of France's
In the same year, he founded the motion picture studio EuropaCorp, headquartered
Within 10 years it became one of the major studios of the European film
In 2000, he was named President of the Jury for the 53rd Cannes Film Festival,
becoming the youngest jury president in the history of the festival.
In 2005, he returned to directing with Angel-A, and the following year with his
first animated picture, Arthur and the Invisibles, adapted from the book he
wrote. This animation featured the voices of legendary stars including Madonna,
Snoop Dogg, and David Bowie.
In 2010, Luc Besson adapted Tardi's series of graphic novels with The
Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, with Louise Bourgoin starring in
the title role. 2011 marked the release of The Lady, starring Michelle Yeoh in
the role of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
In 2013, he brought to the screen Tonino Benacquista's acclaimed novel Malavita,
starring no less than Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Pfeiffer.
In 2014, he directed the science-fiction thriller Lucy, starring Scarlett
Johansson and Morgan Freeman. The film became a global megahit, grossing almost
half a billion dollars worldwide.
Throughout his directing career, Luc Besson also directed a number of music
videos, including Serge Gainsbourg and Mylene Farmer, as well as commercials for
internationally renowned brands.
In addition to the films he has directed, Luc Besson has written over 50
screenplays for features. Among them include the hugely successful Taxi, Taken,
and Transporter franchises.
Besson is one of a kind in that he's the only French director to have as many
worldwide hits as a producer as he does as a director. Some of his producing
credits include Gary Oldman's indie film Nil by Mouth which took home an award
at the Cannes Film Festival that year, as well as Tommy Lee Jones' The Three
Burials of Melquiades Estrada and the western drama The Homesman, both of which
achieved wide public acclaim.
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