Fash­ion-for­ward Amer­i­can ac­tor DANE DEHAAN talks to CEZAR GREIF about play­ing a French sci-fi hero

#Legend - - INTERVIEW - Pho­tog­ra­phy / Kevin Sin­clair Styling / Ise White

AN ACT­ING NERD is how Dane DeHaan de­scribes him­self. The na­tive of Penn­syl­va­nia was into theatre at high school and went on to study act­ing at the Univer­sity of North Carolina, as well as singing and danc­ing. He then per­formed in var­i­ous stage plays and in­de­pen­dent movies, in­clud­ing a film pro­duced by Me­tal­lica. It wasn’t a typ­i­cal in­tro­duc­tion for roles as a lead­ing man. In be­tween, DeHaan has be­come a fash­ion icon, mix­ing dar­ing com­bi­na­tions with clas­sic styles, and of­ten makes the best-dressed lists in men’s magazines.

Af­ter this year’s turn as the pro­tag­o­nist in A Cure for Well­ness, DeHaan has starred in a sci­ence-fic­tion epic Va­le­rian and the City of a Thou­sand Plan­ets, di­rected by

Luc Bes­son, and Tulip Fever, a drama set in the 17th cen­tury. He chat­ted about both movies with #leg­end.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on Va­le­rian. Were you fa­mil­iar with The Fifth El­e­ment, also di­rected by Luc Bes­son, be­fore sign­ing up?

Thanks, man. I grew up watch­ing The Fifth El­e­ment. I think I prob­a­bly had it on VHS and DVD. I still feel like it’s one of the most watch­able movies of all time. It’s just so much fun.

Did you read the French comic book the movie is based on? You’re a dif­fer­ent kind of Va­le­rian com­pared to the comic book char­ac­ter, who is more like James Bond. How did you go about cre­at­ing your char­ac­ter?

I love the comics. First of all, I re­ally love the art­work.

I love the Seven­ties vibe. If you can get your hands on the orig­i­nals, the art is just in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful. I think it was im­por­tant for me to hon­our the char­ac­ter the best I could, but also to hon­our Luc’s script. These are char­ac­ters that Luc put a lot of thought into. One thing I picked up from the comics is the amount of luck that’s in­volved in Va­le­rian’s suc­cess. His su­per­power is al­most his blind am­bi­tion.

To me, he didn’t read like a James Bond in terms of ca­pa­bil­i­ties. He read as some­one who thinks he’s James Bond; he’s ca­pa­ble but he’s also re­ally lucky. That was some­thing I tried to hon­our and some­thing I think sets him apart from other ac­tion he­roes. I re­mem­ber there’s one comic where he goes back to glad­i­a­tor times and com­petes against five Al­pha war­riors in some kind of an­cient games and wins only be­cause a lot of lucky things hap­pen to him – not be­cause he’s the strong­est guy in the room or the more ca­pa­ble guy, but be­cause luck is on his side and be­cause he has Lau­re­line by his side.

How would you de­fine Bes­son’s take on sci-fi against Star Wars or Star Trek?

I think he brings an ec­cen­tric qual­ity to it.

If you see a frame of The Fifth El­e­ment and a frame of Va­le­rian, you know you’re watch­ing a Luc Bes­son sci-fi movie.

It’s more colour­ful than other sci-fi films. He doesn’t shy away from the ec­cen­tric­ity of it all, from bring­ing his own voice to it. He doesn’t try to make a prod­uct for mass con­sump­tion that he’s ab­so­lutely sure will be widely ac­cepted. He’s try­ing to bring his vi­sion to life. What’s rare about his vi­sion is that it’s all his. There’s no Amer­i­can movie stu­dio be­hind it, so he gets to do what he wants to do. What ends up hap­pen­ing is this in­cred­i­bly bright and colour­ful, orig­i­nal sci-fi movie.

“Bes­son doesn’t shy away from the ec­cen­tric­ity of it all, from bring­ing his own voice to it. He doesn’t try to make a prod­uct for mass con­sump­tion that he’s ab­so­lutely sure will be widely ac­cepted” DANE DEHAAN

I knew about the comic but was sur­prised when I heard they were mak­ing a movie. Bes­son had wanted to do it for a while.

Yup, his whole life. When I first met him, he told me that when he was young he lived in the French coun­try­side, get­ting the comics weekly. That’s what set his imag­i­na­tion on fire and gave him the pas­sion to want to make the film. He wanted to make it his en­tire life. He just needed to wait for the technology to catch up with his imag­i­na­tion.

Did hav­ing a Dutch fam­ily name in­crease your cu­rios­ity about the role in Tulip Fever?

I thought about it but it had noth­ing to do with why I took on the part. I got to work on a script by Tom Stop­pard, work with some­one like Judy Dench – peo­ple I just couldn’t be­lieve I was on set with. Grow­ing up watch­ing stuff like Shake­speare in Love and going to theatre school, work­ing with Tom Stop­pard was a huge treat.

You’ve done cam­paigns for Prada and worked with Hedi Sli­mane. You’ve got fash­ion cred. Is fash­ion im­por­tant to you?

The pal­let of clothes I get to play with has be­come pretty mind-blow­ing. I re­ally en­joy work­ing with my stylist as I’m going on these press tours and see­ing all these amaz­ing clothes. It’s im­por­tant to me. It’s the way

I like to ex­press my­self, with the way I dress. I still also like to go shop­ping, whether it’s for my­self, my wife or my daugh­ter. The re­la­tion­ships I’ve had with fash­ion, and with Prada specif­i­cally, have been an amaz­ing sup­port in my ca­reer. I’ve done four or five cam­paigns with them now and, in a way, Mi­uc­cia Prada has been one of the great­est sup­port­ers of my ca­reer and has re­ally al­lowed me to be more pa­tient in choos­ing projects. It’s been re­ally amaz­ing com­bin­ing these two worlds – not just re­ly­ing on one thing, but to do both. They are two worlds that, I think, go to­gether kind of eas­ily and they’re both im­por­tant to me.

How do you de­fine your style?

I don’t re­ally know. It’s hard to de­scribe my style. I try to stay cur­rent in terms of what’s avail­able to wear but it’s also im­por­tant to me to play with it, to de­velop my own kind of thing. It’s laid-back but it’s also kind of hip. It’s im­por­tant to me to al­ways look sharp and pre­sentable. I want to look like I’m happy to be where I am and dress for the cir­cum­stances. It’s im­por­tant to look sharp, and not just like I went to a store and bought a shirt and a tie and that’s it.

I put a lot of thought into it, and am eclec­tic. I like to make it stand out a lit­tle bit.

You’ve been on the cover of L’Uomo and other men’s fash­ion magazines. Are you a reader of fash­ion magazines? Do you as­pire to be a fash­ion icon?

I read them but, hon­estly, I stay more cur­rent with fash­ion with things like Twit­ter. I fol­low a lot of the fash­ion pub­li­ca­tions on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram, whether it’s

Vogue, W or GQ. I like to keep up to date on it. In terms of am­bi­tion, it’s weird be­cause I never re­ally pur­sued fash­ion. It just hap­pened. I re­ally en­joy it and I hope it con­tin­ues but I don’t have a mod­el­ling agent or anything. I’m not signed with an agency. I hope I con­tinue to ex­press my­self with fash­ion and I hope peo­ple con­tinue to re­spond to it. If they do, I’m happy to con­tinue down that road.

You named your daugh­ter Bowie, af­ter the singer, I imag­ine. What’s your favourite David Bowie song?

We re­ally liked the name. It’s not not af­ter the singer – we liked the as­so­ci­a­tion to him – but we also like that it’s a strong, an­drog­y­nous name. We ob­vi­ously both like David Bowie a lot and also the name it­self. He made this mu­sic video for the song Lazarus re­leased a week af­ter he died. It’s one of the most amaz­ing things I’ve seen in my life. It re­ally blew my mind. It was truly in­cred­i­ble.

“I’ve done four or five cam­paigns with them and Mi­uc­cia Prada has been one of the great­est sup­port­ers of my ca­reer. It’s been amaz­ing com­bin­ing these two worlds. They are two worlds that go to­gether eas­ily” DANE DEHAAN

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