Because your weekend always needs just a little bit more weird-ass singing blue alien, here is exactly that. And if you think I’m talking about that one scene from French action auteur Luc Besson’s 1997 sci-fi opus The Fifth Element where Diva Plavalaguna sings, then you’d be right. This video show her entire performance captured during filming, before all the editing and special effects were added into the mix.
Shot against a green screen during principal photography, Besson’s cameras captured the entire performance in a single take before it was later cut up and spliced in various ways. This was also filmed at the legendary Pinewood Studios in London, England, which you may recognize as the same place that J.J. Abrams and company are currently filming Star Wars: Episode VII for Disney and Lucasfilm—the most recent of many that have come to life within these hallowed halls. If those walls could talk, right?
On screen, French actress Maïwenn Besco (who also goes by the much shorter name Maïwenn) plays the Diva. You may remember her from turns in movies like Alexandre Aja’s 2003 great-til-that-last-twist-fucks-everything-up-and-ruins-the-entire-movie horror joint High Tension, but she also worked with Besson on Leon: The Professional and is a writer-director in her own right. The voice, however, does not belong to her at all. Those pipes are the sole property of an Albanian opera singer by the name of Inva Mula Tchako, and the name of the aria she’s singing is “Il Dolce Suono.” Even though Maïwenn is not really singing the song, it must be damn tough to lip sync underneath all of that damn make up, and I’m willing to be that all of that latex is rather warm to boot.
There are only pieces of this performance in the finished version of The Fifth Element. The song and stage show are cut into by action as Bruce Willis’ Korben Dallas and Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo duke it out with various space creatures in deep space aboard the Fhloston Paradise luxury cruise liner. There’s also some stuff going on back on Earth, and Chris Tucker’s Ruby Rhod pops in from time to time to yell about stuff and look silly. You can check out what it looks like in the actual movie (sorry for the less than stellar video quality, it’s the only one I could track down).