Rihanna Joins Cara Delevingne For Luc Besson’s Upcoming Sci-fi Epic Valerian

Rihanna will be joining the cast of Luc Besson’s upcoming sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, according to Variety. Besson, the filmmaker behind Lucy, confirmed Rihanna’s involvement through a post on his Instagram account on Wednesday.

Although Rhianna’s exact role has not been detailed, Besson hinted that the singer’s part would be a big one. The Valerian project already has Dane DeHaan and super model turned actor Cara Delevingne signed up, with filming set to begin in France, January 2016.


Besson will be writing and directing the film, an adaptation of Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres’ 1967 graphic novel Valerian and Laureline, which has sold more than 10 million copies around the world in 21 different languages.

The story centers on a pair of space and time-traveling agents, Valerian (played by Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (played by Cara Delevingne) who are charged with defending a futuristic utopian 28th century Earth and its neighboring planets – the Terran Empire.

Virginie Besson-Silla, Besson’s wife, who will produce the film on behalf of EuropaCorp, who are financing, producing, and distributing Valerian, praised the original comics for being “way ahead of their time.” Commentators such as film critic Jean-Philippe Guerand have noticed a number of similarities between the Valerian series and a number of subsequent films such as Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian and Independence Day.

Valerian has an approximate $180 million budget, and Besson has recruited elite special fx firms Weta Digital, Industrial Light & Magic and Rodeo FX to help bring the sci-fi epic to life, reports Variety.

Philippe Rebours, Industrial Light & Magic visual effects supervisor on the film, is a veteran of genre films in the U.S. and France and supervised VFX on Marvel’s 2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Industrial Light & Magic will be creating a single sequence for Valerian, which is being kept top secret, but Rebours did tell of his excitement when seeing the artwork for the film.

“When we were bidding, we received a lot of artwork that Luc and his team have been doing. Everyone here was really excited. It’s very challenging.”

François Dumoulin, VFX supervisor for Rodeo, worked with Besson on Lucy and his previous credits include Fantastic Four, Cinderella and In the Heart of the Sea. Rodeo FX will be responsible for creating an enormous space station called Alpha.

“It’s almost a planet, made of multiple ships which have been connecting together over centuries, and tons of different civilizations have merged into one big station. It’s really not just one environment; it’s a combination of dozens of different environments piled on top of each other.”

Weta’s Letteri told Variety of his enthusiasm for the project, having seen Besson’s concept art for the picture. Weta will be rendering many of the alien creatures for the film and Letteri revealed that they will be using “any technique available”. There will be actors in performance-capture suits playing CG characters, and some aliens will be entirely key frame-animated, but live action will be used where possible.

“I just loved the feeling of it and where he was going with it. We just wanted to get in there and do as much as we could. Luc wants to shoot a lot of it live and get as much in camera as he can. Where you can shoot it, great, especially if you can get interaction for your actors. You want the believability, and the grounding, and the realism as much as possible.”

Rihanna made her motion picture debut in 2012 with Battleship, a performance which received mixed reviews. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is scheduled for a July 2017 release.

[Image credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for WESTBURY ROAD ENTERTAINMENT LLC]

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