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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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