Filmmaker Luc Besson is returning to the grand scale sci-fi realm, and he’s found swell actor to come along for the ride. The Fifth Element director has been itching to make a big screen adaptation of Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières’ comic Valerian for a long, long time, and it’s now coming to fruition with a budget of $180 million and, per Besson himself on Twitter, Clive Owen. The actor will play a character known as Arün Filitt, and he joins the previously announced Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne, who play members of an elite corps of time travel agents who travel the universe through space and time, helping to maintain order in the 28th century. Delevigne is a rising star all her own, with a standout role in this summer’s Paper Towns and an impending turn as Enchantress in Warner Bros.’ DC Comics film Suicide Squad, opening next summer.
Earlier this year, Besson described Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets as the biggest challenge of his career. Recently, the filmmaker explored working in different genres like drama (The Lady) and action-comedy (The Family), but he hit big with last year’s Scarlett Johansson-fronted sci-fi actioner Lucy. And with Valerian he’s certainly tackling his most ambitious project since The Fifth Element.
As for Owen, he’s most recently been doing excellent work on Steven Soderbergh’s terrific Cinemax series The Knick, which returns this fall. One imagines he’ll fit Valerian into his schedule between seasons two and three—assuming the show gets renewed. It’s unclear exactly when production on Valerian gets underway, however.
— Luc Besson (@lucbesson) August 19, 2015