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Luc Besson

Luc Besson

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 18, 1959 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Paris, FR Profession: director, screenwriter, producer, songwriter, cinematographer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Admired in the U.S. as an ersatz French Steven Spielberg and reviled by his home country's critical elite as the man who ruined Franco cinema, writer-director-producer Luc Besson was inarguably one of the most commercially successful and prolific filmmakers ever to emerge from Europe. After establishing the slick, visual aesthetic known as "Cinéma du look" with early efforts like "Subway" (1985), "The Big Blue" (1988) and "La Femme Nikita" (1990), Besson officially crossed over to Hollywood with the films "The Professional" (1994) and "The Fifth Element" (1997). Following the disappointment of his historical epic "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" (1999), he returned - usually as a writer-producer - to stories featuring hard luck heroes and spectacular chase sequences in genre movies like "Kiss of the Dragon" (2001), "The Transporter" (2002) and "Unleashed" (2005). Amongst the numerous writing and producing projects, Besson occasionally directed more personal films, among them the low-budget fantasy-romance "Angel-A" (2005) and the family adventure "Arthur and the Invisibles" (2006), based on a series of books authored by Besson himself. Even as he neared the 30-year mark in his career, Besson...

Admired in the U.S. as an ersatz French Steven Spielberg and reviled by his home country's critical elite as the man who ruined Franco cinema, writer-director-producer Luc Besson was inarguably one of the most commercially successful and prolific filmmakers ever to emerge from Europe. After establishing the slick, visual aesthetic known as "Cinéma du look" with early efforts like "Subway" (1985), "The Big Blue" (1988) and "La Femme Nikita" (1990), Besson officially crossed over to Hollywood with the films "The Professional" (1994) and "The Fifth Element" (1997). Following the disappointment of his historical epic "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc" (1999), he returned - usually as a writer-producer - to stories featuring hard luck heroes and spectacular chase sequences in genre movies like "Kiss of the Dragon" (2001), "The Transporter" (2002) and "Unleashed" (2005). Amongst the numerous writing and producing projects, Besson occasionally directed more personal films, among them the low-budget fantasy-romance "Angel-A" (2005) and the family adventure "Arthur and the Invisibles" (2006), based on a series of books authored by Besson himself. Even as he neared the 30-year mark in his career, Besson continued to rack up impressive writer-producer credits on such international smash hits as "Taken" (2008). A self professed purveyor of populist entertainment, Besson's strongest response to his detractors was his lengthy career - one that allowed him the freedom to produce precisely the films he wanted to make.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Lucy (2014)
2.
  Malavita (2013)
3.
  Family, The (2013)
7.
  Angel-A (2007)
10.
  Fifth Element, The (1997) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1976:
Turned down by France's national film school at age 17
:
Worked as an assistant to directors including Claude Faraldo and Patrick Grandperret
1982:
Founded production company Les Film du Loup
1983:
Worked as second unit director on "Le Grand Carnaval"
1983:
At age 24 directed first film "Le Dernier Combat," co-starring Jean Reno; also co-wrote and co-produced with Pierre Jolivet
1985:
Directed Isabelle Adjani and Christopher Lambert in "Subway"
1986:
Produced first film that he did not also direct, "Kamikaze"; also wrote screenplay
1988:
Returned to his first love with "The Big Blue" about famed diver Jacques Mayol; third film with Jean Reno and first English-language film
1990:
Directed and wrote the stylish and compelling "La Femme Nikita"; also starred Jean Reno as 'The Cleaner'
1991:
Made the little-seen documentary "Atlantis"; also shared cinematography duties as well as directing
1993:
Executive produced Patrick Grandperret's "L'Enfant Lion"
1994:
Produced, directed and wrote first American film "The Professional"; initial collaboration with Gary Oldman; fifth film with actor Jean Reno
1997:
Scored big hit with the sci-fi comic book adaptation "The Fifth Element"; film starred future wife Milla Jovovich and Bruce Willis
1997:
Produced Oldman's writing and directing debut, "Nil By Mouth"
1998:
Scripted and produced Gerard Pires' "Taxi"
1999:
Helmed "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc," starring Jovovich in the title role
2000:
Produced and provided the idea for Fred Garson's (second assistant director on "The Fifth Element") feature directing debut, "The Dancer"
2000:
Director's cut of "The Big Blue" released in the U.S.
2001:
Produced and co-wrote "Kiss of the Dragon," starring Jet Li and Bridget Fonda
2001:
Scripted the film "Wasabi" about a French detective on a case in Tokyo
2002:
Wrote and produced "The Transporter," starring Jason Statham
2004:
Scripted an early screenplay of the U.S. version of "Taxi"; also produced
2005:
Wrote the screenplay for "Unleashed," starring Jet Li and Morgan Freeman
2005:
Co-wrote with Robert Kamen, the screenplay for "The Transporter 2"; re-teamed with Jason Statham
2006:
Penned the French martial arts melodrama "District B13"
2006:
Directed the feature film adaptation of the 2002 children's book "Arthur et les Minimoys/Arthur and the Invisibles"
2008:
Co-wrote and produced the action thriller "Taken," starring Liam Neeson
2010:
Co-wrote the action film "From Paris with Love"
2011:
Co-wrote and produced the action thriller "Colombiana," starring Zoe Saldana
2012:
Co-wrote action thriller "Lockout," starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace; also executive produced
2012:
Returned to co-write screenplay for action sequel "Taken 2," starring Neeson
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Besson served as president of the jury at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival

"Luc Besson has been praised and disparaged as one of the new breed of high-tech, high-gloss, Americanoid anti-auteur filmmakers who do not wish to provide an alternative to Hollywood's blockbuster confections, but merely to embellish them with some Gallic sauce. Mr. Besson has even been described as the French Steven Spielberg." --Andrew Sarris, quoted in the NEW YORK OBSERVER, April 1, 1991

About dreaming up the world that would become "The Fifth Element" as a bored adolescent: "I was living in the country, 60 miles from Paris, and I was pretty lonely, no VCR, no TV, no cinema where I was. I didn't have so many friends. I tried to invent how this world works, what the police are like, how the buildings work. This world, where I can fly in my flying cab, was more fun for me. It was my companion. It was a way to escape instead of taking drugs and stealing motorbikes.'---Luc Besson to Andy Seller in USA TODAY, May 8, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Anne Parillaud. Actor. Met c. 1986; starred in title role of Besson's "La Femme Nikita"; divorced.
wife:
Milla Jovovich. Actor, model, recording artist. Ukranian; appeared in Besson's "The Fifth Element" and "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc"; married in Las Vegas in December 1997; separated in April 1999.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Juliette Besson. Mother, Anne Parillaud; fell ill while he was editing "The Big Blue", requiring surgery; Besson dedicated the film to her.

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