From “La Femme Nikita” and “The Professional” writer/director Luc Besson comes this action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.
Lucy (Johansson) is a carefree young student living in Taiwan who is tricked by her boyfriend into delivering a briefcase to a business contact. Before she can understand the situation in which she’s become ensnared, Lucy is grabbed and held hostage by the merciless Mr. Jang (Cho Min Sik).
When his thugs surgically implant a package loaded with a powerful synthetic substance – one that would likely kill her if it were to leak — in our heroine, her terror turns to desperation. Even more so when the chemical is accidentally unleashed in and absorbed by Lucy’s system, and her body begins the unimaginable: Her cerebral capacity is unlocked to startling, and previously hypothetical, levels.
Lucy turns for help to Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman), whose decades of research on the brain’s potential makes him unparalleled in the field … and the only person with the ability to see where this might lead.
In this interview, Luc Besson discusses how he developed the idea, how much of it is real, why Scarlett was perfect for the role and more.
Where did you get the idea for the story?
Here [he says touching his head]. I had a discussion a long time ago, probably 20 years ago, I was doing a presentation of a film. The mayor always wants to invite you after to dinner. They always sit a girl next to me. I was guessing: Is it the niece of the mayor, or does she want to be an actress? I said, “What are you doing?” She said, “I’m a professor and I’m working on the nucleus of cells.” I talked with her for three hours and I learned amazing things about the brain.
For example, we have 100,000 billion cells in one body. Each cell is sending 1000 messages per second per cell. That is the level of the web system that we have. So the numbers of information per second is huge, and we have no access to it.
I just started to work on that and then I met a couple of professors. I wanted to know more about the background before I got into the characters, to make sure I had a real statement. Half of what is said in the film is true; the other half is totally fake. But if you mix up everything together, everything looks real.
The stuff that Lucy can do with her increased brain power at 30 percent, is that what you got from the scientists, or is that what you made up?
The theory about the 10/20 is fake. It was a theory in the ’60s, but the theory is wrong. But I use it. It is a film. The number of messages per second per cell is true.
There are a bunch of actresses who could play, but it is about meeting the person and you need to feel the desire from one and the other. I didn’t propose a job; I proposed an adventure. I spent 9 years working on it, I want the person to be committed. I am going to bother her 24 hours a day. She has to be ready for that. She has to be willing to do that. You have to be clear and say, “Do you want to do the travel with me? Do you want to do this four or five months together?” The good thing about Scarlett is she is a tough cookie. She is from New York. She said yes.
You said it took 9 years to write it. During that time science changes a lot with new discoveries, as does technology. Did you have to keep updating?
Yes. I am one of the founders of the Institute of the Brain. It is a huge hospital with nine Nobel prize winners working there. These guys are fascinating. I see them once in a while and I ask them questions. I gave them the script to read and they had more questions than me.
You used some new techniques for audiences to see in “Lucy.” Can you talk about that?
I chose the street first, a very famous street in Paris: Rue de Rivoli. There are five ways in, but you can’t come back. It is one way. It is always a fantasy for me to take this avenue full speed. I know the street for 30 years, so I went little by little.
“Lucy,” produced by Virginie Besson-Silla for EuropaCorp and distributed in the U.S. by Universal Pictures, opens in theaters on Friday, July 25.
The post Luc Besson Discusses ‘Lucy’ and Why Scarlett Johansson Was Perfect for the Role also appeared on PCM Reviews.