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Last month I had the amazing opportunity to visit Beverly Hills for the Valerian Press Junket. I had seen the trailers for this movie so I knew that visually it was going to be an impressive movie. I was excited to learn more about the making of Valerian while interviewing Director Luc Besson as well as actors Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. The interviews are always one of my favorites parts because that is truly where you learn about the passion and sacrifice behind making the movie. But first on the agenda was a pre-screening of the movie. We were able to see it in 3D and all I can say is– WOW! This is a must see movie in 3D on the big screen. Visually— incredible.

About Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

“The visually spectacular new adventure film from Luc Besson, the legendary director of The Professional, The Fifth Element and Lucy, based on the ground-breaking comic book series which inspired a generation of artists, writers and filmmakers.

In the 28th century, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the Minister of Defense, the two embark on a mission to the astonishing city of Alpha—an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and cultures with each other. There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.”

Our first interview of the morning was Director Luc Besson. I was so impressed with meeting him. He was so kind, down to earth and talked a lot about the importance of his family and keeping his priorities straight. Valerian was a passion project for him so it was excited to hear from him directly about the making of this movie. I always finding passion projects so inspiring because every ounce of their heart and soul goes into making the film. Here are a few highlights of our interview:

  • He didn’t let anything go from the movie. He didn’t cut any scenes. He knew what he wanted the movie to be like and he wasn’t willing to change his vision.
  • Luc Besson mentioned that you really had to have faith in the story because after working on it so long the jokes in the movie were no longer funny. You had to remember that you put them in the story for a reason.
  • He doing research for the movie he talked a lot with different creatives in the industry to learn how things were done so he could have the time to make the movie he wanted.
  • Luc Besson asked for submissions from schools. He had them submit a space ship, world and alien. He received 2000 entries and from that hired 5. He got on a skype call with them every week and they helped him create 200 aliens.
  • The film took 20 weeks to film. They finished filming three days early.
  • He found his inspiration from his mother and his tree.
  • In looking for the perfect people to cast in the movie he wanted to find the best person for the part, not the best  face for the part. He knew the story so well that he knew immediately that the characters were right.
  • There are 8000 species on Valerian.
  • He loves to put in underlying messages in movies to make young people who watch the movie think.

 The second interview that we had was with Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne who play the two main characters in Valerian. Their onscreen chemistry was spot on and they brought so much energy to the movie. They did such an amazing job and it was really fun to have the opportunity to talk to them more about making the movie. Here are some of my favorite parts of the interview:

  • Both of their characters in the movie are around the age of 25.
  • They were both so excited to work with Luc Besson. They loved his passion for the movie and his energy and spirit so much that they knew the movie would be great.
  • Cara talked a lot about how she loved watch the movie with the VFX. She knew exactly what was going on from making the movie but it was incredible seeing it put together. She said, ” I would watch that over and over again. I was literally like, “Wait. Go back. I know I know that’s happening. But, I keep forgetting what’s going on because the visual effects are so incredible.”
  • Cara liked playing the part of Laureline because she was the kind of woman that Cara wanted to be. She is a woman of “strength, determination, hardworking, following her heart as well, the amount of compassion and time that she has for love and also for doing the right thing and also getting the job done.”
  • Cara and Dane needed to be in really good physical shape for this movie so Dane would get to set early and go to the gym.
  • Dane was excited for the sword fighting scenes. He had done sword fighting in school so he was ready. He said, “I didn’t think it was anything I was going to actually ever get to use in the real world. So, when I found out there was a sword fight– yes– I remember them being like, “You know, you have like two months to
    learn it.” And I was like, “Oh no, guys. I got this.” And they totally didn’t believe me, and within like three sessions, I totally got the fight. And they were like, “Oh wow. You can fight with swords.” And I was like, “Yes, I told you I could fight with swords.”
  • When asked about how hard it was interacting in different scenes because there is a blue screen behind you, Cara mentioned that they were able to use their imagination to get through it. In some seasons with the converter, they used a bunny which made it a lot easier.
  • When working with a blue screen or green screen you really have to go forward and just trust that it will look right.

History is on the march. Watch the trailer for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – the groundbreaking cinematic event a lifetime in the making. 

See it in 3D and RealD 3D July 21!