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Rihanna Joins Luc Besson’s Valerian

Once a stalwart of soundtracks Rihanna has been making inroads into acting in the last few years with movies such as Battleship and DreamWorks Animation’s Home. She’s now landed her biggest role yet, joining the cast of Luc Besson’s ambitious new sci-fi tale, Valerian.

Originally created by writer Pierre Christian and artist Jean-Claude Mezieres in 1967, the series of graphic novels charts the adventures of the titular time-travelling agent (Dane DeHaan) and his female sidekick, Laureline (Cara Delevingne). Clive Owen is also aboard, playing a man named Commander Arün Filitt, but Besson has not revealed details about Rihanna’s contribution, but it sounds like she'll be a key element of the story.

This promises to be the biggest project Besson has tackled since The Fifth Element, with visions of a futuristic world that blends that film with Star Wars and Blade Runner, populated with all manner of weird creatures and just five human characters. He’s spending $180 million to bring it to life, has effects houses Weta Digital, Industrial Light & Magic and Rodeo FX standing ready, and has been clearing space at his studio in Paris because he needs all available soundstages. The director is eyeing a January start and a July 2017 release for the film.

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