— Luc Besson (@lucbesson) May 12, 2015
Cara Delevingne has just landed her next major movie role — and this one involves a big-name director. The model-turned-actress is teaming with French filmmaker Luc Besson on his next sci-fi saga, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Besson himself made the announcement earlier this week as his Twitter debut. “My first tweet ever! Let’s share a real news! My next film is a big sci-fi: #Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” the director wrote, also confirming that Delevingne would be starring alongside actor Dane DeHaan (Amazing Spider-Man 2).
The movie will be based on the iconic French sci-fi graphic novel series of the same name, written by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières and first published in 1967. According to Deadline, DeHaan and Delevingne will play Valerian and Laureline, a pair of agents who use their abilities to warp through space and time to help protect a utopian 28th century Earth and its neighboring planets from bad guys.
The project, which will reportedly be a mix of space opera, adventure, and time travel, is expected to be Besson’s biggest sci-fi film since his hugely influential 1997 flick Fifth Element. The director took a break from the genre for some time, helming movies like 2011’s biographical drama The Lady and 2013’s crime thriller The Family, and co-writing the screenplays for the Taken franchise. While last year’s box office hit, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, featured plenty of sci-fi elements, Besson is now clearly set to make an official return to the genre with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
For Delevingne, the role is only the latest in a slew of projects that she has in the pipeline. Since first transitioning to acting with a small part in 2012’s Anna Karenina and a supporting role in the Amanda Knox-inspired drama The Face of an Angel, the model has experienced a relatively fast rise in Hollywood stardom.
She’s already booked major roles in two highly anticipated films. Paper Towns, in which Delevingne plays the enigmatic lead Margo opposite actor Nat Wolff, is set to hit theaters this summer. She’s also currently filming DC Comic’s much-discussed Suicide Squad film, in which she plays the villainess Enchantress among a star-studded ensemble cast. Her transformation into a big screen staple hasn’t gone unnoticed, even earning her the Rising Star award at Las Vegas’s CinemaCon earlier this year. Now, it looks like she’s ready to seal her fate as Hollywood’s new favorite leading lady with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
As a sci-fi epic, Valerian will mark a radically different film from anything Delevingne has done so far and is arguably one of her most ambitious projects to date. Still, she’s in good hands. As a director, Besson is known for creating movies that feature strong female leads. The most recent example is Scarlett Johansson’s Lucy, but the filmmaker has a long history of featuring tough women characters prior to that, including Nikita in 1990’s La Femme Nikita, Mathilda in 1994’s Léon: The Professional, and Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011’s The Lady. With this latest project, it seems he’s set to continue the trend with Delevingne’s Laureline.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will start shooting in December, with a projected premiere date for sometime in 2017. But viewers will see plenty of Delevingne on the big screen before that. Paper Towns is set to hit theaters on July 24, while Suicide Squad will premiere in August 2016. Delevingne also has a supporting role in Warner Bros.’ Pan, due out October 9.