Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: Interview with Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne and Luc Besson


HNS attended the press conference of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Check out what we learned below from the film’s Writer/Director Luc Besson and actors Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. 


VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is 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.

Here are some highlights from the press conference: 

A lot of my viewers are Rihanna fans. I was wondering if you could talk a bit about the decision of casting Rihanna and the complexity of creating that role.

Luc: The first thing, in my head I said ok who would be the best person for the part? And my first idea was Rihanna. I don’t even know if it was realistic or not, but it was just like my idea, my dream. And you never know until you ask. And I was lucky because at this period she really wants to play, try to be an actress and be in movies. So I was lucky. I just had the perfect timing. And she was exceptional. It was very difficult to get her there. On the set. Because she’s going three times around the world per day, kind of. But when she’s there the entire entourage is out of the set. She’s by herself. She’s very focused and very just like asking you to direct her. Which for a director is a dream. And this little one-minute scene is six days of work. And a month of study, all the costumes, it was a tough scene to prep since the beginning.

Cara: She had more outfit changes than all of us in the movie. Together basically.

Luc: She has more outfits than me in the last 10 years.

Beautiful film. I heard it took a long time for you to bring this to the screen, and it was kind of a passion project for you because it was something you loved from the time you were a young boy reading the comics. So can you talk a bit about finally bringing this to the screen and it being the right time with visual effects and actors and so forth.

Luc: You know when you start this kind of thing, you know it’s a serious thing. You can not start this and say [nonchalantly], ‘Oh you know, I’m gonna do it.’ No. There’s lots of competition… Marvel, DC Comics, there’s lots of superheros. So it’s almost a 200 million dollar film and you know it’s going to be tough. So I start 10 years ago, and I start very very slowly. I start with the designers, I select 10 designers in the middle of 2000. And I make them work for two years in the dark. They don’t even know the script. And they had contact only with me. Once a week. Through Skype, for a year. Because I want that creativity, totally without frontier. I want them to come back with the weirdest thing they can find out. And then I receive more than 6,000 drawings and start my puzzle. And start to think about my two actors because you cannot make this film without this couple. It’s an unusual couple, an unusual hero. It’s obviously not Schwarzenegger. And it’s a different kind of hero. Maybe a little bit more European in a way, more fragile and more kind of different. Sometimes he’s even spoiled or pretentious a little bit. But I like that. I really love that from the character. And she’s the grounded one. I need someone who… most of the time it’s what we have in a couple ok? The woman is in charge and we pretend we are. And I really want to have this flavor, this little tiny story of this real couple in the totally incredible, amazing story in space. So it’s very real in something that is not. I want the salt and the sugar in the same story, which is kind of difficult. I wrote the script for many, many, many months. It’s a true story. When I went to see Avatar one day, my script was almost ready and I’ve seen Avatar and I came back home and I put my script in the garbage. And I start again. You know, because Avatar just pushes all the limits and it was just amazing and I was not at that level. If you have to run with Zeus, I don’t mind to be second, but I want to be second. I don’t want to be 9. So thanks to James Cameron, because my script is much better now than it was. And it was really a long labor of work. Every day, little by little, that’s the only way you can win and have at the end something that looks like a piece of art. And not just like a lot of film. It’s made by hand really. With a lot of love.

The film is truly amazing and demands to be seen on the big screen. Read our full film review HERE. 


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets hits theaters on July 21st!