/ FACES Magazine May/June 2017
The New Movie from
Hitting Theatres This Summer
'VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS' – SUMMER RELEASE.
CVIVA PRESS 2017
BY PIERS MANNING
At only 24, Cara Delevingne is in the throes of a second career. Conquering the modelling world in the same vein as Kate Moss, the sapphire-eyed Londoner used her It Girl status to launch a film career. And after commendable work in Paper Towns and Suicide Squad, she's getting her best reviews yet from Valerian director, Luc Besson who reckons she's as talented as Natalie Portman. Delevingne swallows an intake of breath. "Wow. Oh god. Awks," she laughs. "I yea, that's very generous. Yea, I don't really know what to say to that."
Judging by her level of success, humility could be considered the typical ruse. But coming from Delevingne, there's also a level of believability in her delivery and combined with knockout looks and screen presence makes an unstoppable new Hollywood star. And latest movie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets should do little to hinder that ascent.
Based on legendary French comics, the lurid blockbuster is a lifelong ambition for French director Besson. Dreaming of bringing the fantasy to the big screen since a young boy, it's only now the technology has caught up with his aspirations and audience look set to be blown away by the forthcoming summer epic. As intergalactic crime busters in the 28th century, Dane DeHaan [Valerian] and Delevingne [Laureline] must protect the City of a Thousand Planets from a hostile alien race. And along the way they have help from a star-studded cast including Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke and Rihanna. Who Cara admits, was born to be on screen.
Chatty though sometimes oddly wispy in responses, the supermodel turned superstar talks her comic book background and dream mentor in Besson. She also chats rejection, directing ambitions, her future in fashion and why she can't watch herself on film. Cara lives in London and is reportedly dating singer, St Vincent.
I have never heard of Valerian but it's one of the oldest, comics right?
DELEVINGNE: I'd never heard of it either but it had such far reaching influence. Star Wars borrowed heavily from the concepts, Mezieres design, it's opened up a whole new universe to me that's like nothing I've ever seen before. Which is an exciting thing, for there to be this ambiguity, who is Valerian, who is Laureline. It's not new material but there's a mystery that you don't get with stories and scripts based on comic books and that's exciting to me. Although a lot of people don’t know it, there's a huge fan base. Around Paris where we were filming, you'd see people walking around in Valerian t-shirts. There's already that awareness. It's going to be epic, I literally cannot explain. Luc Besson's been working on this this since he was ten years old. We've all seen what he can do—Fifth Element anyone?
I was mesmerized by the Fifth Element when I was a kid.
DELEVINGNE: I grew up on Luc's films, Leon, The Fifth Element in particular, was so central to my evolution as a film fan and I just desperately wanted to be Leeloo, I would throw myself around the room, try and climb the walls, she was so fierce and freaky and profoundly amazing. So to not only be in the same room as Luc, which is mind-blowing enough already, but to be directed by him, to be part of this beautiful, psychedelic, intricate, surreal vision is a real honour. There's no one else like him, except maybe Tim Burton, just someone who creates another world, and worlds. To see the world as he sees it, has changed how I look at everything around me. I climbed into Luc's head and clambered out a more enlightened, enriched person, It's literally changed me as a person.
Didn't you audition for Alice in Wonderland, speaking of Tim Burton?
DELEVINGNE: [laughs] Who are you sources? [laughs]
Could very easily have seen you in that. Were you disappointed not to get it?
DELEVINGE: I was. I was 16, that was one of my first big auditions and I was so sure it was right for me. I thought I was made for Alice, I got this but evidently, I wasn't [laughs] It was a hard learning lesson but it sort of propelled me towards what I'm doing now, it was the precursor motivation.
You've got a couple more movies on the way, are you totally done with modelling now?
DELEVINGNE: I haven't stopped modelling for good. It's not my focus right now but I'm lucky there's this sort of in, still have my foot in there, I can come back from time to time if anybody wants to work with me. But acting is what I'm concentrating on, it's what I've always loved, it's what I've always wanted to do. Modelling happened by accident, a very fortunate accident but that pull for film has let go.
Being on set, are you in Luc's surreal world or is it largely green screen and you don't see anything till the final product?
DELEVINGNE: Pretty much green screen. You really have to use your imagination but fortunately, I'm a ridiculously imaginative person. It was very cool wearing the battle armour suit, that was a moment where it felt very real because they were fully operational. Lit up, you could actually take off into space. This was childhood dream fulfilment because I used to dress up as superheroes as a child.
Who did you dress up as?
DELEVINGNE: Spiderman mostly! He had the coolest costume. There weren't many female superheroes.
Laureline could be that for a new generation.
DELEVINGNE: It's so cool to be embodying one of the first female superheroes but that maybe young girls might dress up like Laureline too. They could? Perhaps that's just very wishful thinking on my part [laughs].
You got to be pretty tough in this, so tough that you made a guy bleed?
DELEVINGNE: [laughs] It makes it sound like I was pummeling him in the face and there was blood everywhere. There was a little clip, a little hand to face contact and it's only when I looked down at the armour, I noticed a little blood. But this guy was tough, it was nothing to him and I didn't want to lose myself being all sympathetic. So we carried on as normal. But yes, I can say I've made a man a bleed by punching him in the face.
How was it working with Dane? You knew each other from Tulip Fever?
DELEVINGNE: It took a while for us to gel, to blend because he blanked me on [Tulip Fever]. He says he didn't but he was the star, I was the extra in the corner [laughs]. I love him. I was so happy when I found out it was Dane playing Valerian because I wasn't really sure who Luc was talking to. Dane's my pal. I keep him in line.
And another friend, Rihanna, how was it working together?
DELEVINGNE: She is as mesmerizing on a set as she is on stage. She was born to act. There's a rare group of people that just have it, and she has it. What she does is astonishing.
You've said before you find it hard watching yourself on screen. Is that getting better the more movies you make?
DELEVINGNE: Seeing myself in a movie is still something I find hard to accept. It doesn't sit very easy with me. I can't connect with my own body, watching myself. I get very nervous and apprehensive. It's probably why I want to go into directing.
So that's the end goal?
DELEVINGNE: I'm still learning, having a masterclass with Luc Besson, just being on these sets, absorbing the mechanics and technicality, I'm learning a lot.