Luc Besson Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trade Mark (9)  | Trivia (19)  | Personal Quotes (15)

Overview (2)

Born in Paris, France
Height 5' 7¾" (1.72 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. He already showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue (1988) and The Fifth Element (1997), as an adolescent bored in school. He planned on becoming a marine biologist specializing in dolphins until a diving accident at age 17 which rendered him unable to dive any longer. He moved back to Paris, where he was born, and only at age 18 did he first have an urban life or television. He realized that film was a medium which he could combine all his interests in various arts together, so he began taking odd jobs on various films. He moved to America for three years, then returned to France and formed Les Films de Loups - his own production company, which later changed its name to Les Films de Dauphins. He is now able to dive again.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Aaron Stewart <aes@indigo.ie>

Spouse (4)

Virginie Besson-Silla (28 August 2004 - present) ( 3 children)
Milla Jovovich (14 December 1997 - 2 May 2000) ( divorced)
Maïwenn (2 January 1993 - 1997) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Anne Parillaud (1986 - 1991) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (9)

Often casts Jean Reno
Music mostly by composer Éric Serra.
Typically, during the opening-titles, the camera moves towards something important for the movie, but looks down until the important part of credits was shown, then swings up, now looking at a place or character.
Often features fully enclosed sets with no natural lighting
Frequently has a shot of someone being slapped, focusing on the slapper's hand momentarily beforehand (Fifth Element, The Messenger, The Professional, La Femme Nikita)
Films usually feature a scene that is edited into real-time. In The Fifth Element (1997), Vito Cornelius is given 20 seconds to speak, does so for exactly 20 seconds.
As seen in Taxi and The Transporter, very distinctive car chase scenes focusing on very low camera shots very close to the front bumper of a fast moving (and often rather mundane) car (transporters Renault 5) with a lot of sideways swerving movment (though traffic or other). Nearly always to a French hiphop soundtrack.
Characters who are multilingual
Strong female character roles: _La Femme Nikita (1990)_, Lucy (2014), _Léon: The Professional (1994)_, etc

Trivia (19)

Dated Maïwenn. She gave birth to their daughter, Shanna Besson, in 1993.
Has a daughter with ex-wife Anne Parillaud, Juliette Besson (born 1987).
Placed under investigation on a charge of involuntary manslaughter 4 June 2002 by Paris prosecutor during inquiry into death of a cameraman hit by a car during 1999 filming of chase scene in Taxi 2 (2000), which Besson produced.
Father, with Virginie Besson-Silla, of two daughters, Talia Besson (b. 1 August 2001), Satine Besson (b. May 2003) and one son, Mao Besson (b. 16 September 2005].
Often casts Gary Oldman (Leon, The Fifth Element (1997)) and they are very close friends. He produced Gary's movie Nil by Mouth (1997).
Has his look-alike puppet in the French show Les Guignols de l'info (1988) (but it is rarely used).
Refuses to do interviews or audio commentaries for DVD releases. This is because he believes that they ruin the impact of the film.
President of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 53rd Cannes International Film Festival in 2000.
Wanted to become a marine biologist as a child, but an accident at the age of 17 prevented him from being in water.
Has five children with three different women.
Grew up in Greece, Bulgaria, and former Yugoslavia, where his parents were diving instructors for Club Med.
Has written four 'Arthur' children's books, including "Arthur and the Minimoys". The series has sold more than 1 million copies in more than 30 countries. Besson later adapted the book series into films.
He always said, that he will retire as a director after he made 10 movies. This would make Arthur and the Invisibles (2006) his last one.
Lived in Bulgaria, at the Black Sea coast resort, where he spent 5 months with his parents who used to work in a sport center there, diving and exploring coastal caves. He was 9 years old then. Now as an adult he is afraid to visit that coast again not ruin his beautiful childhood memories.
Jean-Pierre Melville had a heavy influence on him. He made Léon: The Professional (1994) after seeing Melville's masterpiece Le Samouraï (1967).
President of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 32nd Moscow International Film Festival in 2010.
Two of his films have opened the Cannes International Film Festival: The Big Blue (1988) and The Fifth Element (1997).
In 1977, Luc Besson was rejected by La Fémis, the national film school of France. Besson later told in interviews, that he was 18 years old, when he applied, and in a preliminary interview an administrator asked him which directors he most admired. Besson named Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Milos Forman, before the interviewer cut him off, saying: "That's enough. I don't think you belong here".
Is being declared the John Hughes of action movies due to him writing and producing films more than directing.

Personal Quotes (15)

Cinema never saved anyone's life, it is not a medicine that will save anyone's life. It is only an aspirin.
What's so special about all those amazing British children's writers, those who gave us Alice in Wonderland and Robinson Crusoe and Pooh Bear and Peter Pan and Peter Rabbit and the rest, was that they didn't set out to seduce. The great children's writers were authentic, they copied no one, they didn't set out to make money or to preach ideas. They just transcribed their dreams.
I do think that kids today miss out on a lot of those guidelines. Parents are always at work; school doesn't necessarily give the framework; politicians are all corruption and scandal; even sporting heroes are tainted with drugs and what have you. Rules are important for kids.
People often say I'm a child at heart. In fact, I think I just have access to [my childhood], I have a very clear memory of it. We were all children once. We just need to show a bit of respect for it.
Why did I make Subway (1985)? Why did I do all that crazy undersea stuff in The Big Blue (1988)? Why did I go all black and nasty with La Femme Nikita (1990)?. I don't know. Because I did. I do what I do because I want to do it, because I want to explore, go looking for things.
I was never polluted by the world of cinema. I didn't even have a TV until I was 16. My expression is a reflection of the world I have seen, and in that world everyone was barefoot in bathing suits, following the order of the sea, the natural order of sunrise and sunset. I never went to the cinémathèque. I didn't know much about the masters of world cinema.
[on his threat to retire after directing 10 films] I said if I made 10 films in my life, I would be very lucky. That's how I meant it. My fear after my first one was whether they would let me make another one, so I had this goal in my head. After six, seven films, I started to get a little tired. Shooting takes a lot out of you. You finish a film and most of the time you're half-dead. I was happy to finish after 10.
In France we have this problem: we cannot admit that movies are also an industry, that a movie is also fun. I think we have the wrong notion of commercial and intellectual or artistic film. Because all films are commercial. When you go to see a film by Jean-Luc Godard, you pay the same price. And believe me, he makes much more money with his little film that cost $1m than lots of people. Two people in a kitchen for two hours in black and white where you say, "Oh, it's so arty." It's a very commercial film because it cost nothing.
[2014] I can't do this job just like a business. If I don't love the film and I'm not ready to get exhausted for it, I can't do it. I can't go to Hollywood, take a big cheque and say, "Action!" and "Cut!". It's just not me. I come from the source, from the ground up: putting cables together and holding cameras aged 17, and I'm physically like that. If I believe in a film, I don't care if it's very successful or not successful. I want to be proud of it. I've done films that worked a lot and films that didn't work so well, and I don't care. Angel-A (2005) was a black and white film in French - I love this film - and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010) was a comedy in French, but then The Fifth Element (1997) was popular everywhere. It doesn't matter because the real life of a film is ten years later. Two years ago I was in Korea and this 15 year-old Korean guy with a red mohawk came up to me aggressively - I was a little scared - and he said, "Subway (1985) is my favourite film!" I asked him how old he was and realised that he wasn't even born when I made it. That's the beauty of film.
You can't imagine how many people ask me for a Léon: The Professional (1994) sequel. Everywhere I go they ask me. If I was motivated by money I would have done it a long time ago. But I don't feel it. When I go to do Angel-A (2005) in black and white, or The Lady (2011) in Burma, I feed myself - and I need that. If I make Léon 3 and Léon 4 and Léon 5 and The Fifth Element 6, 7 and 8, I won't feed myself. I will just repeat myself. The only way for an artist is to go to theatre, read books, see museums, paintings, life, friends, seeing people, feeding yourself, do other types of films.
[2011 interview, on The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)] The film is not heavy; it's an ice cream. It's vanilla strawberry with chocolate on top, and fudge. Making it was like a holiday. Two years ago, if you presented me with something heavy, I wouldn't do it. It was the beginning of the global crisis and I didn't want to put more weight on people. There is nothing I can do about the crisis, but at least I can make you smile for two hours.
[on The Fifth Element (1997)] I started to write it when I was 16. I was not thinking about making a film - I was doing a book. At the age of 20, I wrote already 30 scripts. Because I have nobody in the film business in my family, so the only thing I can have like everybody is a piece of paper and a pen - no one can beat you, you don't need anybody, you just need a pen! So I was spending my day and my night to write, to write, to write, and that's it.
[on his dislike for superheroes and especially 'Captain America'] What bothers me most is it's always here to show the supremacy of America and how they are great. I mean, which country in the world would have the guts to call a film Captain Brazil or Captain France? I mean, no one! We would be like so ashamed and say, 'No, no, come on, we can't do that.' They can. They can call it Captain America and everybody think it's normal. I'm not here for propaganda, I'm here to tell a story. [2017]
[on Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) and changing audience habits] What happens today, you know, it's a little different than like 5 or 10 years ago. Because the way people consume the film is very different. Like people are very busy, so they go to the cinema, but you stay on screen like three weeks. Before when I start my movie, like The Fifth Element (1997) or Léon: The Professional (1994), you stay 12, 15, 20 weeks in theater... Now you stay on screen for like two, three weeks and the VOD very soon, you have the DVD, the TV, so sometimes people they want to see a film and miss it, so they go there. So let's wait till the end of what we call the first circle. The first circle is really theater, VOD, DVD and to see what is the audience. [Sept. 2017]
[on The Big Blue (1988)] I opened the Cannes Festival and I got killed. Killed by the entire press. It was like a bath of blood. In Cannes you have this magazine every day where the critics all give a film one star, two stars, three stars, four stars. And for The Big Blue the entire 15 critics put a double zero. This had never happened in the history of Cannes. My first reaction was to say, "Oh, that's funny because it looks like bubbles."

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