With roughly a month before the official release of his biggest film — not to mention the most expensive independent film — to date, Luc Besson used the first day of CineEurope to drum up further excitement for his space opera Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Taking the stage for the first session of the trade show in Barcelona, some three years after he last attended to unveil Lucy, his studio EuropaCorp’s “unexpected success,” the flamboyant French filmmaker unveiled four exclusive 3D scenes from the $200 million budget film, which he said was seven years in the making.
“I’m very happy today — I finished the film!” Besson excitedly told the audience, adding that he discovered the comic book Valerian as a 10-year-old and instantly fell in love with the female lead Laureline.
After a high-octane opening, introducing the two main characters, played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, Besson joked that Valerian was “clearly a very French, intellectual film.”
Comparing the movie to his last major sci-fi pic, The Fifth Element, the filmmaker said that his 1997 hit contained 188 special-effects shots. “This has 2,734,” he laughed, adding that some 2,300 people had worked on Valerian. “It’s two hours, nine minutes long, but with the credits about three hours and 20.”
Following the exclusive footage, Besson said goodbye, concluding, “See you in space soon.”
Valerian is set to hit theaters July 21 in North America.