FICTION IS NOW A MODERN REALITY
Cara Delevingne has moved from the catwalk to the silver screen with seamless success, her latest role making her a star among the planets
To her legion of diehard fans, Cara Delevingne is known as the “queen of the eyebrows” who shot to fame as a Victoria’s Secret model and forms part of Taylor Swift’s famous girl squad.
And while high-end modelling has built her an impressive career on the catwalk and a string of fashion and beauty campaigns over the years, Delevingne finally feels like she’s found where she truly belongs on the big screen.
After being part of the ensemble cast in last year’s box office smash Suicide Squad, the 24-year-old Brit is the leading lady in European big budget film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a passion project of renowned French director Luc Besson.
Set in the 28th century, the story follows space agents Valerian, played by American actor Dane DeHaan, and his love interest Laureline (Delevingne) as they work together to diminish an evil in their galaxy.
The pair are sent on a mission to investigate a dark force that is threatening the peace at Alpha, a growing city with a thousand planets, where different species have come together to share their knowledge and intelligence to build a metropolis.
The film, which is an adaptation of French comic book Valerian and Laureline, is said to have cost a whopping $180 million to make and also features another big name in pop star Rihanna.
In an interview with Watch, Delevingne says bagging the role as the strong and independent female character was a “dream come true”.
“It really was,” she says. “She’s such a great character. I love that she’s equally as strong as Valerian.
“It was so much fun getting to play this amazing, strong and funny woman. She’s a representation of what I think women are. They are strong, they are multifaceted and they have a voice. Luc has this amazing way of showing women as they are and Laureline is a woman that I aspire to be.”
Delevingne, who is becoming a regular face in big movies, including Paper Towns (2015) and Suicide Squad (2016), says acting has become her main focus, amid reports she quit modelling.
“I don’t think I like the word quit,” she says. “I don’t think I need to stop anything.
“Acting is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life. But it’s not something I need to stop anything for. It’s more about proving myself.
“People always ask me about modelling. It doesn’t stop me. It only fuels me to work harder. I want to continue working and be the best I can be.”
DeHaan, who plays the hero of the film, says scoring the role of Valerian has been his biggest career highlight to date, despite the many big projects he’s already been involved in. He says it was particularly rewarding because he had the opportunity to work with Besson.
“I got a phone call and the next thing I know I was at a table at breakfast with Luc and he said, ‘I’m making a movie I’ve been wanting to make my entire life and I want you to star in it’,” DeHaan says.
“It was so mind-blowing, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening at the time. It was like winning the lottery.
“I know so many actors who can’t get work, and they work so hard, and it just really makes me feel privileged to have opportunities like this. I just never take it for granted.”
DeHaan, 31, who has just welcomed his first child, Bowie Rose, with his actress wife Anna Wood, is best known for his breakout roles in the science-fiction thriller Chronicle (2012) as well as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2015) and acclaimed indie films such as Kill Your Darlings (2013) and Life (2015).
But, despite being no stranger to physical roles, he says playing the tough superhero character of Valerian was on another level.
“I’ve been in the best shape of my life doing this film. I was training three months before I started filming,” he says. “Every morning, I would come to the studio early in the morning and go to the gym before heading to the set. We had to be in great shape.”
But was the physicality of playing a detective agent as intense as fatherhood?
“Nothing can prepare you for being a parent,” he says. “But, to be honest, it’s amazing. It’s changed me in so many ways. I thought it would be like, how much I love my dog. It would just be the same transition.
“But as soon as I saw her face, everything changed. I’m loving being a dad.”
He, along with Delevingne, spent more than six months filming the sci-fi flick at Cite du Cinema in Paris, the 62,000m sq studio complex built by Besson.
The pair are hopeful their hard work and long hours making movie magic will pay off.
“I mean I guess we hope people love it as much as we loved making it,” Delevingne says. “It was so much fun coming onto this set every day. We really did have such a great time making this movie.
“The material was so rich in terms of the comic books and Luc has wanted to make this his entire life, so he had everything painted out, every character, every scenario.
“We had all the pictures pasted up in our dressing rooms so we could imagine the situation before going into it.
“The film is like a dip into his imagination.” Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is out in major cinemas now
IT WAS SO MUCH FUN GETTING TO PLAY THIS AMAZING, STRONG AND FUNNY WOMAN
Cara Delevinge in a scene from Luc Besson’s new sci-fi blockbuster Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.