How many people besides me immediately wanted to see a sequel to Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element where Corben Dallas and Leeloo spent 90 minutes just getting it on in freaky futuristic ways? Maybe that’s just because I was 14 when it came out, or possibly because I’m a guy. In any case, while that version of a sequel may never make its way into theaters, it turns out Besson may eventually have another story to tell. While being interviewed by Indiewire about his upcoming action/crime comedy The Family, Besson expressed interest in returning to the 23rd century. But don’t go getting your Ruby Rhod Halloween costumes out just yet.
Besson, who ends up producing and writing more movies than he directs, has had a hand in quite a few sequels over the years, and when asked if he would ever direct one, he offered The Fifth Element as his answer. He says:
I was a little bit frustrated because I made the film right before all the new effects arrived. So when I did the film it was all blue screen, six hours, dots on the wall, takes forever to do one shot. Now, basically, you put the camera on your shoulder and then you run and then you add a couple of dinosaurs and spaceships. And I was so frustrated because it was not so easy at the time. So I always think to myself that I would avenge one day and use all the new tools to do a sci-fi film for sure.
When you think back to just how crazy and good The Fifth Element looked, especially for 1997, you have to give Besson credit for putting up with it all. I mean, having to digitally add in every hair follicle on Bruce Willis’ head must have been such a task!
But Willis’ character might not even be a part of Besson’s future vision. When asked if the sequel would tie in with the original, he was cagey at best. “I don’t know if it would be directly connected but it would be the same area and the same genre,” he said. “So for me it would be connected even if the stories had nothing to do with each other.” This makes sense, and is kind of refreshing. After all, how many sequels are produced that just rehash most of the same beats that made the predecessor a success? You needn’t look further than Willis’ Die Hard franchise. And anyway, you have to figure a world that sees a Great Evil come forth every few millennia just has to have some other wacky stories to tell.
Besson’s last trip into science fiction was conceiving and crafting the screenplay for James Mather’s goofy romp Lockout, which somehow turned Guy Pearce into an action hero. He’s currently filming Lucy, a sci-fi actioner that will see Scarlett Johansson turned into a drugged-up ass kicker. Let’s hope it puts him in the mindset to stay true to his word, so that we may one day see The Sixth Element. (That better not be what it’s called.)