Hi Reddit!

I am generally secretive about my personal life and my work and i don't express myself that often in the media, so i have seen a lot of stuff written about me that was incomplete or even wrong. Here is the opportunity for me to answer precisely to any questions you may have.

I directed 17 films, wrote 62, and produced 120. My most recent film is Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman.


I am here from 9am to 11am (L.A time)

FINAL UPDATE: Guys, I'm sorry but i have to go back to work. I was really amazed by the quality of your questions, and it makes me feel so good to see the passion that you have for Cinema and a couple of my films. I am very grateful for that. Even if i can disappoint you with a film sometimes, i am always honest and try my best. I want to thank my daughter Shanna who introduced me to Reddit and helped me to answer your questions because believe it or not i don't have a computer!!!

This is us

Sending you all my love, Luc.

Comments: 2212 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

CacheUpTheYinYang972 karma

How do you feel about people getting upset over the "10% of their brain" logic you use in Lucy?

sleliab1725 karma

In the movie a student asked to Morgan Freeman "Is it proved scientifically?" Freeman answered "No, it's an old theory and we're playing with it." So i never hid the truth. Now I think some people believed in the film, and were disappointed to learn after that the theory was inexact. But hey guys Superman doesn't fly, Spiderman was never bitten by a spider, and in general every bullet shot in a movie is fake. Now are we using our brain to our maximum capacity? No. We still have progress to do. The real theory is that we use 15% of our neurons at the same time, and we never use 100%. That was too complicated to explain, i just made it more simple to understand for the movie.

operation_hennessey699 karma

Eric Serra's scores in both Leon and Fifth Element are definitely very organic with the visuals. What is the collaboration process between the two of you? Because you have created what I think are two of the greatest scores in cinema.

sleliab695 karma

Thank you! We've known each other since we were 17. The first few films, he was always waiting to have the editing to start working, he always works on the rush. Pressure is his motivation. He fought a lot about this. More recently, i forced him to write a theme way sooner. On Lucy for example he wrote the main theme before even reading the script. I told him the story, the ambience, the meaning, the color, then he started to work without being restricted by the script or the editing. We know each other so well, sometimes it's an advantage, sometimes not, because we have less desire to surprise each other.

bkoron530 karma

M. Besson, The Fifth Element is one of the most entertaining films of all time. Thank you for your dedication and devotion to making it. Leon's pretty damn amazing as well, particularly the shot where the camera gets killed at the end. Was that a particularly hard shot to accomplish? It looks pretty simple, and it's genius because nobody ever thought of it before.

OK, now that I've finished kissing your butt, please tell us: What is the #1 incomplete and/or wrong stuff about you that you would like to correct?

sleliab1084 karma

So the death of Leon is 72 frames per second, im holding the camera and i let myself fall on the floor. I broke my finger and the camera. When you have success, people think straight away that you are all about business and money. My main goal since i was 17 years old has always been to create, to try, to open doors, and today it's even stronger than before. I wake up at 4 am, i take a piece of paper and a pen. That's when i feel most confortable. I hate when people see me as only a business man. When i started to produce films, it was because no one else wanted to produce mine. It was for me a way to protect my creativity, without having people telling me what to do. I became a producer to protect me as a director.

sleliab645 karma

That was my daughter being silly.

ggggbabybabybaby439 karma

Please let her know that reddit is very very serious.

sleliab390 karma

(This is she, sorry!)

Naggers123163 karma

'i swim away from confrontation'

such a Besson line.

sleliab463 karma

My daughter also happens to be a Besson.

MasterJaron379 karma

Mr. Besson, thank you for doing this and thank you for providing us with the type of action films you do. They're a nice escape from the stereo-typical type macho man action flick the world's used to seeing.

I have two questions, please.

  1. Has there ever been any consideration to a continuation of Lèon with Natalie Portman? I always played out the idea of Mathilda never getting over what happened to Lèon and following in his foot steps. And Mathilda still sees hallucinations/ghosts of him guiding her as she does things in combat.

  2. Will Mr. Shadow ever see the light of day? I remember reading a while back when Avatar came out you were inspired to do another sci-fi epic. Could you have possibly had that in mind?

Thank you for your time. Lèon and the Fifth Element are the two best action films if all time. Especially, Lèon there's so much more complexity between those two characters for that type of film. And I think the Fifth Elements visual effects still hold up to today.

sleliab516 karma

Thank you Master. I wrote a couple of versions for the sequel of Leon for the last 10 years. Nothing was good enough to be made. For the Sci-Fi, i am working on it. It's very ambitious so I'm not sure i will be able to make it but i'm trying my best. It's so expensive!

JVVSE366 karma

Can you tell us about the supposed sequel to Fifth Element, "Mr Shadow?"

sleliab677 karma

There is no sequel for the Fifth Element yet, the Mr Shadow rumor is false.

YakumoYoukai343 karma

You seem to be someone in the movie business who really has struck a balance between the USA and European markets. What would you say are the biggest differences between making films in or for the two regions?

sleliab501 karma

It's not so much about the two regions, it's more about two families. One is the business, the another one is the artist. US and Europe have the same problem, these two families have to work together, understand each other, but most of the time one is trying to take the power over the other one. That's the most challenging balance to find.

sstelmaschuk288 karma

Any plans to work with Jean Reno again in the future? Maybe as someone Liam Neeson can face off against...?

sleliab545 karma

I have filmed Jean for 30 years on every angle, it's difficult for me to reinvent something with him. But he is my friend forever.

iOSGuy257 karma

Do you have any little known stories from filming Fifth Element that you'd be willing to share?

sleliab669 karma

When Milla did the casting at first, she was not so good. Too nervous, too much make-up. A few weeks later i met her not on purpose in a hotel where we were both staying, she was wearing a large t-shirt and no make-up. We had a very nice talk, and i offered to do another test right now. I took a small camera and tortured her for an hour, she was brilliant.

CelebornX253 karma

Hi Luc!

Quick question, what is your favorite James Bond film?

sleliab429 karma


where_is_the_cheese228 karma

Please! I have to know! What the hell is the brown stuff that runs down peoples foreheads when talking to the ultimate evil in The Fifth Element?

sleliab364 karma

Our entire body is full of impurities. The evil is able to concentrate them and to exit them through your skin. Exactly like when you're sick and your impurities go out through your pimples.

operation_hennessey198 karma

In Leon, for Agent Norman Stansfield did you draw inspiration from any fictional or non-fictional characters and was it written with Gary Oldman in mind?

sleliab331 karma

I just invented the character without any references. I didn't know Gary when i wrote it, i met him later but we had a lot of fun together building the character. He brought a lot of things to Stansfield, he's a genius!

mstwizted183 karma

Luc, my husband and I are both MASSIVE fans, of your writing and directing. We discovered The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec this last year, which I adored.

My question: Do you always write first in French? Or, if you know the movie will be in English, do you write it in English? How do you decide if the movie will be French/English?

sleliab259 karma

It's the type of story that guides you. Adèle is a very well known french comic, very french so there was no point of making it in english. (Except if "money" is your first motivation.) When a film is in english i always start a first draft of the script in what i call Fren-glish!

OhNoSpookyGhost181 karma

What inspired you for the look of New York in the Fifth Element? It's always been one of my favourite future cities, it looks so lived in and detailed.

sleliab293 karma

The main idea was to mix past and future. When you watch big cities in Europe, most of them got bombarded during the war so now you have this strange mix of old fashioned and new buildings. For the 5th element they probably went through a couple of wars and when they couldn't go higher with buildings, they started to dig and build down because the sea level went down 200 meters because of pollution.

belgian_here169 karma

Who brought you on Reddit ?

sleliab347 karma

My daughter, Shanna. Actually she's helping me type right now. (Hi!)

limboeden145 karma

Hi Luc. If there was any film you wish you thought of first, what would it be and what would have you done differently?

sleliab335 karma

Amadeus. But i never could have done better.

limboeden142 karma

Hi Luc. Best actor you have ever worked with? Why?

sleliab397 karma

I am still friends with all of them please don't put me in shit... But most recently i can say that i was amazed by Choi Men Sik.

Fabinout131 karma

Hi Luc!
I've been a huge fan since the first movie I ever saw in theater (Taxi <3 )
Do you see yourself writing more books like "Les minimoys"? They were very cool !!

sleliab204 karma

Thank you. Writing is what i love doing the most. So i think when i will be too old to direct movies, i will continue writing until the day i die.

operation_hennessey127 karma

In Fifth Element when Leeloo arrives at Phloston Paradise, is that him saying "wow" or was that dubbed by another person?

sleliab196 karma

You mean her? Yes it is her voice saying Wow.

oO_Wallace_Oo126 karma

You sleep in on the morning of an important meeting to pitch a movie you feel could change cinema forever. It would take any sane person 40 minutes to reach the meeting, but you only have 15 minutes to get there.

Do you phone Daniel Morales (Taxi) or Frank Martin (Transporter) to get you there in time?

sleliab337 karma

If the script is really gonna change the face of cinema, everyone can wait for one more hour. I will probably walk there in peace. But if it's a girl waiting, i will take Daniel to drive me!

soseekthewolf120 karma

Hi Luc! I'm a huge fan of your work and I particularly am fascinated by Subway; the whole underground Parisian location is amazing, but the sort of topic that you don't see too often outside of cheesy horror movies and old French history documentaries about the catacombs. What inspired you to use the modern (as per 1980s) setting?

sleliab228 karma

It's just a gorgeous setting for me. Lots of lines and architectures, different colors, neon lights... The french subway is very pleasant to film. When i was 16, i was on the platform waiting for the train and one door was slightly opened. The inscription was "forbidden to the public", so of course i pushed the door and went in. And i realized that 2/3 of the subway is forbidden, it's gigantic. I spent all my nights discovering it, the roller, the florist, and the drummer are real characters who i have met.

juliandrome110 karma

Bonjour Luc,

Quel est le film qui vous a donné envie de faire du cinéma?

sleliab148 karma

C'est pas un film qui m'a donné envie, c'est la premiere fois quand je me suis retrouvé sur un plateau de cinéma. Je suis tombé fou amoureux du plateau.

SquidgyGoat105 karma

As a director yourself, does it ever feel difficult handing projects you've written, such as the Transporter and Taken films, over to another director to make their own, or are you ever disappointed with the direction they choose to take with it, regardless of the quality of the film?

sleliab257 karma

A film always belongs to the director, so when i give the script to someone i give a piece of the puzzle, he's responsible to make it. When the film is good i am proud of him, when it's bad i'm sorry for him. I am never disappointed, because for the scripts i really care for i make the film myself.

itwasquiteawhileago100 karma

Back in my high school days, I was obsessed with The Fifth Element. I believe I ended up watching it seven times total in the theatre, once watching it three times in a row (it was a second chance, cheaper theatre, but I spent a good part of the day there with some friends). I own the widescreen VHS, collector's DVD, and the Blu-Ray release. I still can't help but watch it on TV every time I stumble on it.

I always tell people to this day that the mix of action, humor, amazing soundtrack, and fantastic writing/acting and characters were just an unmatched blend of awesome film making that I would be hard pressed to match on overall level of just plain fun.

Crazy that one of my other Top 5 movies also happens to be Leon: The Professional. I loved the US version, and only a few years back learned of the differences in the ex-US version, with all the deleted scenes that were too uncomfortable for the US version. It somehow made an already near perfect movie that much better. I didn't think that possible. My father agrees that it is one of the best movies he has ever seen, and we frequently bring it up as just being a complete masterpiece all around.

I'm not really sure I have any questions for you, but just wanted to heap some praise on your skills and tell you just how how much these two movies mean to me. I've been trying to track down the right size a Leon poster (the French "B" version) to put up on my wall in my theater room, even, but haven't had much luck. I will continue to persist on that!

Thanks for being awesome.

Apparently I need to have a question in here for my post to not be deleted. Here goes: I once read that writing Leon was sort of a "quick" thing you did while waiting for various bits and pieces to come together on your "life's work" of The Fifth Element (being that you apparently starting writing it around 14 years old, if I recall correctly). Is that true? If so, as much as I love The Fifth Element, I find that Leon is, by most measures, a superior film. It is interesting that it was relatively quick for you to write Leon.

sleliab231 karma

Thank you, i am happy that these two films are little bricks in the wall of your life. For me, it was flew over the kukoo's nest, the Riders of the lost arc, and Star Wars. Regarding Leon, i had to wait 2 weeks to get an answer from a studio to know if they were going to make the fifth element or not. The wait was horrible. So i wrote Leon in 15 days and nights to stop me from thinking about the wait.

res20stupid98 karma

I forgot to ask this earlier, but it's such a good fan-theory that I just had to:

Is Ruby Rhod an alien? In fact, according to the one theory I read... is he a mangalore?

sleliab205 karma

No Ruby Rhod is not an alien but he is lost and i think he doesn't even know who he is.

89reatta94 karma

First off, let me say, The Fifth Element is by far my favorite movie of all time. My question is, what all services come with the multipass?

sleliab166 karma

Oh god... i dont remember! But it's bigger and better than a Platinum credit card!

VikingCoder84 karma

Thanks for doing this! Have you ever thought of sharing the earliest drafts of The Fifth Element? As I understand it, you started working on it when you were very young. It would be fascinating to see the revisions it went through.

And which of your characters would you most enjoy meeting in real life?

sleliab277 karma

At 16, i wrote 200 pages and threw them in the garbage because it was bad. I then wrote 200 more which also finished in the garbage. Then I wrote 400 pages that i kept, waited for 15 years, and wrote a first draft. I have done 16 drafts for the fifth element, and finished the script with 300 pages in two parts. The producers refused to part the film in two parts because it was too expensive and forced me to rewrite everything in one film. I guess at the time filming in two parts wasn't popular yet.

I would love to meet Leeloo Minaï Lekatariba Laminatchaï Ekbat Dé Sebat.

trevorvalentine80 karma

Is that really Jean Reno playing drums at the end of Subway?

sleliab93 karma

Yes! Eric Serra was his professor for the scene.

Medicine771 karma

Mr Besson,

Love your work. My question is: what was your inspiration when writing Yamakasi? I think it is a fantastic and underrated film.

Thank you.

sleliab108 karma

I saw a picture in a magazine of these boys flying, i contacted them, we met. They were desperate to work on movies, so i thought of a story where the seven of them could be included. They took acting classes for a year, then we made it.

dsac55 karma

Bonjour M. Besson!

You're obviously quite well-known for Leon and Fifth Element, but many people on Reddit haven't heard of your earlier works.

If you had to recommend one french-language movie of yours (written/directed/whatever) to Reddit, which would you choose?

sleliab116 karma

Angel-A, The extraordinary adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. And in english, The Lady, and Joan of Arc.

seismicor52 karma

Three things a good movie can't be without?

sleliab158 karma

A good Director, a good script, and a good Director.

shivan2150 karma

Were you instructed by Morgan Freeman in the matter of AMA?

sleliab134 karma

No, my daughter suggested it.

mossychops42 karma

I love your films and Taxi was one of the first foreign films I watched and started my of them, a lot of them yours. Can you recommend any influencing or exciting car chase films or any french films I might have missed?

sleliab197 karma

I must admit that the best car chase movies are american or asian. My favorite is still The Blues Brothers.

kullinokka42 karma

Have you ever done something (professionally) that you are ashamed of?

sleliab79 karma


CuriouslyInteresting42 karma

What's the best life advice you would give?

sleliab91 karma

Be honest.

GwnAlisan41 karma

Léon sequel is all I ask for in my life. Like that Mathilda is now really 20 years older (like how natalie portman also is 20 years older). Is this possible?

sleliab112 karma

We never know... If i do a sequel i want it to be really good otherwise you will hate me.

DavidRoyman40 karma

What does the Red Button EXACTLY does?

sleliab91 karma

The red button is a trick for curious and stupid warriors.

Dopeaz33 karma

Any examples on what things written about you are incomplete or wrong?

As an adoring fan, I will destroy planets to defend your good name. I will scream corrections and cite sources at any who besmirch your name. For I am...

that guy.

sleliab133 karma

Thank you faithful warrior. The last thing i read about me that was wrong is a journalist who wrote "Luc Besson has no brain". Actually i have an X-Ray picture that proves that this information is wrong.

gortibartfast27 karma

How does the Big Blue really end?

sleliab36 karma

You're the only one to have the perfect answer!

rush_n_attack24 karma

Would you rather fight one Mangalore-sized duck or 100 duck-sized Mangalores?

sleliab61 karma

One Mangalore-sized duck because if i win, i will have food for a month.

NailgunYeah22 karma

What's the coolest thing you've ever seen on your own film set?

sleliab63 karma

When i was behind the camera, i said "cut!", turned to my crew and saw that a couple of them had tears in their eyes.

vilesithnight22 karma

Would you consider doing a Superhero Big Budget movie?

sleliab60 karma

No, except if it's fresh and new.

llenzll20 karma

Mr. Besson, first I have to say that Léon: The Professional has been my one favorite films since I was a kid, due to the fact that I could relate to Portman's character quite a bit with her dysfunctional family (not the 'Taken' in by a hitman bit). Helped me realize growing up that even in the darkest times, there is always someone out there somewhere that does/would care, even if they are a hired gunman. Thank you for that.

Jean Reno is a phenomenal actor and I believe in an interview I watched forever ago he mentioned that he cried when he received the script from you or once he had finished reading it (cant remember which) and I was curious as to whether you had the story behind that moment?

Also, I know it's explained briefly in the film, however, I have always had this undying need to know more details about what brought Léon to the States. IF, and I mean if, you were to jump back into Léon-iverse, would you prefer to continue the story of Mathilda or would you prefer to take us back to before and tell his story a bit more?

One last thing, is it you or Erica Serra that is the Bjork fan?

EDIT:...I think I'm too late. EDIT: Nope. Luc Besson always delivers.

sleliab58 karma

I was not there when Jean read the script, he told me he cried but don't forget he's a comedian! So we will never know the truth about that. Back story of Leon: He's from a poor family, fell deeply in love at 16 with a girl from a rich family in Sicily. The rich dad forbid his daughter to see Leon, so she wanted to escape with him. The dad killed his daughter to make sure that this never happened. Leon grabbed a gun and went at night to kill the dad who was a big capo. That same night, leon's family put him on a boat straight to New York to disappear.

And if i do a sequel, i prefer to find out what Mathilda becomes.

shivan2120 karma

Why don't you make films in Hollywood?

sleliab60 karma

I make films wherever the script takes me. I love working everywhere.

cherrylips720 karma

Hi Luc, Why should I go see Lucy?

sleliab106 karma

Watch the trailer, and if you feel that the film could bring you something go for it. Otherwise go see the ninja turtles!

thefreund13 karma

Hello Mr. Besson. I recently met a girl (Amélie) from France and she's a huge fan of your work. I like her and I impressed her a lot of times but I'm always looking for the perfect impression. How can we combine our awesomeness to impress her even more?

Thank you for Léon. It's one of my favorite movies.

sleliab54 karma

It's difficult to answer without knowing either one of you. What i can tell you about french girls is that they like a man who can make her laugh, who can listen, and can turn off his phone for her.

EvilPettingZoo_9 karma

Hello Luc, and thank you for taking part in this AMA!

High Tension, also known as Switchblade Romance in Europe is probably one of my favorite horror films ever, even with the convoluted plot twist that's still controversial to this day.

I read that as co-producer, you had a big say in changing the ending in regards to the big reveal of the true killer. Is this true? And if so, what made you decide to change the ending to where it drastically changes the perspective of the film?

sleliab11 karma

No i didn't participate in the re-writing of the end. I always address my thoughts to the director but i let him decided what he thinks is good for him or not.

seismicor8 karma

Your favorite character in Game of Thrones?

sleliab26 karma

Im sorry i dont watch that much TV, and i dont know Game of Thrones yet.