‘When she’s there, she’s there’

‘Va­le­rian’ di­rec­tor says Ri­hanna is fo­cused, gen­er­ous on set

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - NEWS | ENTERTAINMENT - BY LIND­SEY BAHR

Di­rec­tor Luc Bes­son says get­ting Ri­hanna’s team on board for her role in the sci-fi epic “Va­le­rian and the City of a Thou­sand Plan­ets’’ was a lit­tle painful at first.

Ri­hanna’s man­ager Jay Brown was a fan of Bes­son’s films like “The Pro­fes­sional’’ and “La Femme Nikita’’ but they had to make sure they trusted Bes­son and his crew be­fore they com­mit­ted.

The pop su­per­star co-stars in “Va­le­rian,’’ out July 21, as a bur­lesque dancer named Bub­ble who per­forms in a seedy club owned by Ethan Hawke. Al­though it’s a rel­a­tively small part in the film star­ring Cara Delev­ingne and Dane DeHaan, it’s al­ready be­ing hailed by early view­ers as a scene-steal­ing per­for­mance.

Ri­hanna, who wasn’t avail­able for an in­ter­view, was the di­rec­tor’s first choice for the piv­otal role and he fig­ured it couldn’t hurt to ask. She’d had a main role in the 2012 film “Bat­tle­ship’’ and the an­i­mated “Home,’’ and cameos in “This Is the End’’ and “An­nie.’’

He was sur­prised at how in­volved her team was at the out­set.

“They’re very pro­tec­tive of her,’’ he said “So be­fore you get in, you have to prove that you’re hon­est and you’re there for a good rea­son ... It’s a lit­tle painful at the be­gin­ning, but af­ter a while you go, ‘Yeah, we get it.’’’

Once the Grammy win­ner’s team de­cided to move for­ward, Bes­son said Ri­hanna “was lovely.’’

“What was good was when she was on the set she’s 200 per cent fo­cused with you, no en­tourage, she’s there. When she’s there, she’s there,’’ Bes­son said.

“The prob­lem, some­times, is to have her there,’’ the French di­rec­tor added with a smile, to which his wife and pro­ducer Vir­ginie Bes­son-Silla quickly jumped in and said, “No, no, she’s was good!’’

“She was good,’’ Bes­son agreed. “She was amaz­ing and so fo­cused. I was sur­prised by how much she was ready and open to the di­rec­tor ... She was at my ser­vice and I was sur­prised at the be­gin­ning. She was so gen­er­ous.’’

AP PHOTO

This im­age re­leased by STX En­ter­tain­ment shows Ri­hanna, who por­trays a bur­lesque dancer named Bub­ble, in Luc Bes­son’s sci-fi epic, “Va­le­rian and the City of a Thou­sand Plan­ets,” in the­atres on July 21.

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