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Scarlett Johansson Begins Taiwan Shoot for Luc Besson's 'Lucy,' Causes Media Circus

Scarlett Johansson Horizontal - H 2013
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Scarlett Johansson

The French director is said to be enraged by media intrusions on set, while the crew is expected to shoot soon at Taipei 101, the world's fifth-tallest skyscraper.

Scarlett Johansson has been spotted around Taipei this week, shooting scenes for Luc Besson’s upcoming action-thriller Lucy.

Local press have published photos of Johansson, Besson and crew working outside Taiwan’s Regent Taipei hotel. The actress is seen wearing a leopard-print jacket and skimpy dress as she works through several scenes opposite a man in a cowboy hat behind security lines.

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In the film, which Besson also wrote, Johansson plays a woman forced to become a drug mule. But the drug accidentally goes into her body, mysteriously granting her superhuman powers. She can absorb knowledge instantly, is able to move objects with her mind and can't feel pain or distress.

Besson reportedly has been none too pleased about the widespread attention in the Taiwanese press -- and fervent media activity around his set. According to a report carried by leading local news network Focus Taiwan News Channel, Besson is “extremely angry” about the media scrum and TV cameras swirling around his locations. The production is said to be taking extra security measures and setting up obstructions around the set today.

Lucy is the biggest Hollywood production to shoot in Taiwan since local hero Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.

One of Lee’s sons, Lee Chun, has a part in the film, as does Morgan Freeman (no sign of him in Taiwan yet).

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The Taipei Financial Center Company, which owns the city’s landmark skyscraper Taipei 101, has confirmed that Besson’s crew will be doing both aerial and interior shots of the skyscraper. Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.

Lucy is due out in 2014. The project is being touted as a return to the director’s heroine-led action heyday of the 1990s, when he released La Femme Nikita, Joan of Arc, The Professional and The Fifth Element.

Universal has taken worldwide distribution rights with the exception of France, Benelux and China.