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Sunday, May 20, 2018 

The filmmaker who adapted Valerian & Laureline to screen has been accused of sexual assault

In some news related to comics adaptations for the silver screen, the film director Luc Besson's been accused of rape, with Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento bringing up the news at the closing of the Cannes film festival:
Yesterday, French radio station Europe 1 reported that Paris authorities have opened an investigation against French film director Luc Besson, after an actress told them that he had raped her the night before.

According to the complaint, the actress says that she met Besson on Thursday evening at the Bristol hotel in Paris as the Cannes Film Festival was wrapping up. She describes how she was given a cup of tea and blacked out after drinking it, and awoke realizing that she had been raped. She says that the director left a wad of money for her before departing. The actress also noted that she had previously been in an intimate relationship with Besson for two years, one that she felt pressured into for “professional reasons.”

[...] The director of films such as Fifth Element, Lucy, and most recently, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Besson has a history of dating younger actresses: he began dating his second wife, Maïwenn Le Besco in 1991 when she was 15 years old (Besson was 32 at the time), and they had a daughter two years later. Le Besco has noted that Besson’s 1994 film Léon: The Professional, was inspired in part by their relationship, and that then 11-year-old star Natalie Portman’s parents demanded numerous changes to the script because of age-inappropriate content.
It's too bad though, that, as Portman's demonstrated of recent, she's a bad lot in her own way as well. But putting that aside for the meantime, I once saw that cruddy movie from 1994 at least 2 decades ago, and recalling at least one filthy line of dialogue Portman was given in the script, it doesn't really shock me at all Besson could be the pervert he's now been accused of being. And it sounds like he pulled an act similar to Bill Cosby 4 years after that scandal first broke, and just several months after the Weinstein scandal did, meaning he didn't get the message. Probably because of France's atrocious legal system that makes it difficult to make a public accusation like in the USA. (Update: this posting tells more about what's wrong with Besson.)

According to this article:
He has also campaigned for greater visibility of poor communities in depressed French suburbs, not just through his films but by setting up his Cite du Cinema film studio and school in Seine-Saint-Denis north of Paris, one of France’s poorest regions.
This is a pretty superficial description of what Besson's foul personality is really like. About 3 years ago, when the jihadist attacks on Charlie Hebdo first took place, he wrote a letter basically excusing the jihadists, parroting the illogical claims all of society is racist and Islamists couldn't possibly be the same. He should never have been allowed anywhere near the comic strip he adapted, and recalling Cinebook may have published an introduction he wrote for one of the volumes they translated, they'd do well to remove it from any future editions.

As noted before, Asia Argento said she'd gotten word about Besson's revolting antics several months prior:
Following a fiery speech at Cannes' closing ceremony that took festivalgoers to task for continuing to harbor predators, Asia Argento said that she has known about sexual misconduct allegations against Luc Besson "for eight months."

The comments followed reports, which emerged around the same time that Argento was presenting the best actress prize at the closing ceremony, that a 27-year-old French actress had accused the Valerian and a Thousand Planets director of raping and drugging her in a Paris hotel.

“I’ve known for eight months,” Argento told The Hollywood Reporter when asked if she was aware of the Besson allegations when she made her speech.
Well this is not going to reflect well on his career, let alone the work he did on Valerian & Laureline and even a film based on Michel Vaillant in 2002. It's bad enough Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner tainted the X-Men movies they directed, and now, a European director's also facing similar allegations, tainting the comics-based movie he directed or scripted just as badly. I guess now, this'll spell the end of Besson's career too, serving as an example of a shady European entertainment rep whose past is coming back to haunt him.

Update: it appears Argento may be just as bad as Besson, as she too has been accused of sexually assaulting an actor and violating statutory laws. If true, this is very grave indeed.

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