Close to the Talent
A Besson production looks like
no other. That definitely has to do
with the fact that the writer/director
is deeply involved in every aspect
of the shoot. Besson-Silla notes that
Besson worked in every department
before he became a full-fledged
director. It wasn't surprising for
fellow cast and crew to see Besson
add fake blood on some extras or to
touch up Johansson's makeup while
he was at the camera.
The producer describes her director's process:
"Luc is very hands-on. For him, there's no wall
between the technique and the filming of a scene.
When he wants things done, he'll just go and
do it. That's how he gets the intensity out of the
scenes and the actors. Once you're on set, the
most important thing is to give the actors center
stage and not to take care of the technical side of
things. The performers appreciate the fact that
he's close to them, holding the camera and talking
to them as he's filming."
Besson adds that he has such a clear vision
of the picture he is trying to achieve that he likes
to have the camera with him most of the time:
"I'm either at the camera, or I have the camera
on my shoulder. I like to be very close to the
actors. I've realized that, when you say, 'Action,'
it's like sticking a syringe in the actor's arm. It's an
anesthetic. Between the moment, you say, 'Action'
and 'Cut,' he's on an anesthetic. He's someone else.
So I don't want to break that. Sometimes in the
middle of a line, I might say, 'Okay, breathe. Do
it again. Say it again. Go back to the beginning.'
I don't cut because I want to get the most I can
from the state the actor is in. They appreciate that
because what's difficult for them is to build up
that pressure for 'Action!'"
The cast members find the director's
approach both rewarding and demanding.
Johansson was particularly taken with Besson's
directing style: "Luc has a very specific vision
of how he wants each scene to look. That can
be tough, but I appreciate that in a director.
I appreciate the attention to detail and that
unwillingness to settle for anything less. It can
be exhausting, but in the end, I never left the
set feeling, 'I don't know if we really got that.'
He's emphatic about the fact that he settles for
nothing less than perfect. And that's great!"
Waked agrees with his leading lady: "The
most interesting thing about working with Luc is
that he's the cameraman. When the director says,
'Stop' or 'Cut,' I immediately look at the face
of the cameraman. That's my first audience,
right there. And depending on his face, I think to
myself, 'Okay, that went well' or 'that didn't go
well.' So whenever you see that particular look on
Luc's face, you know for sure that you're doing
the right thing. At the same time, he doesn't
waste time because he's the one framing, he's
the one moving the camera. There isn't much
time wasted between what you did wrong and
what you did right. He's a director who knows
precisely every little atom in his frame, where
he wants it and how he wants it. It was very
educating for me to work with him and, hopefully,
I am a better actor for it."
Min-Sik praises the heartwarming atmosphere
on the set, stating that both cast and crew
members were inclusive even though he didn't
speak either French or English: "Even if the
culture and the language are different, we were
all working for the same goal. The people were
so professional, and they were all kind to me. I
was moved by them. We were always laughing
and joking around. So I have only wonderful
memories of the entire shoot."
Professor Agid, who helped the director
develop the project, is excited by the f ilm and the
experience it provides: "Lucy is a contribution to
knowledge on the brain. Interestingly enough,
if you talk to people on the street, they know
what an intestine is, they know what the hear t
is, even if they sometimes think that emotions
are in the heart," he laughs. "But, in fact, they
don't know what the brain is. It's unbelievable.
So I hope that this film, which is fascinating,
will encourage people's interest in the brain.
What you read on the brain is so complicated,
so boring and so difficult to understand that the
people who see the film will be interested to
learn more about the brain."
More than a decade after he wrote the
original script for Lucy, Besson is finally ready
for the world to see his years-long labor of
love. He concludes: "I want people to come out
of the film and say, 'Oh, my God! I'd love to
find out more about the brain and intelligence,'
and then go online to learn more about it."
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