Her role isn’t specified, but Besson, the filmmaker behind “Lucy” and “The Professional,” made the announcement on his Instagram account and teased that the part was a big one.
She joins a cast that includes Dane DeHaan (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”), Clive Owen (“Closer”) and Cara Delevingne (“Paper Towns”). Filming begins in France next January and the movie is expected to hit theaters on July 21, 2017.
Produced by Besson’s EuropaCorp, “Valerian” adapts Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres’ graphic novel and unfolds in the 28th century when humanity discovered time travel. The big-budget project has tapped three elite visual effects firms to help realize Besson’s vision of the future — Weta Digital, Industrial Light & Magic and Rodeo FX.
Although best known for creating infectious pop songs, Rihanna recently starred in “Battleship” and lent her voice to “Home.”
The shooting will take place in France, at Besson’s mega-studio housed at the Cite du Cinema in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris.
Besson initially considered lensing in Bucharest because French movies shot in English like “Valerian” were not eligible for Gauls tax rebate schemes for local and international productions. But the influential filmmaker broke grounds by getting the French government to draft a bill – now coined the Valerian amendement — allowing French pics made in English to access the 30% tax rebate.
Besson’s latest film, “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson, grossed $126 million in the U.S. and $458 million worldwide.
Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report.