Luc Besson 'forced' to film abroad because movie will not get French tax breaks

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Film director reveals his big-budget movie 'Valerian' will not qualify for tax credits in France because it will be made in English.

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"Valerian", an upcoming big-budget French sci-fi movie, may have to be filmed outside of France because it will star American and British actors, its director, Luc Besson, said this week, reports FRANCE 24.

The filmmaker, perhaps best known globally for his high-octane – and English-language – "Transporter" and "Taken" movie franchises and "The Fifth Element", explained to French radio that "Valerian" would likely not qualify for French tax credits because it would be filmed in English, not French.

Those credits are vital for the movie, which will star Clive Owen, Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan and whose budget of around 170 million euros ($195 million) – unprecedented for France – rivals those of big Hollywood productions.

"There's a small problem called tax credits... I have a French film being made in English so I have the right to zero (credits) as a French film," Besson told radio station RTL on Monday.

Even if he tried to pass the movie off as a foreign production, he said he would still not qualify because his production company EuropaCorp is French.

"I'm in a legal black hole," he complained.

As a result, "I don't know if I can film it in France" even though "I want to make it in my country with a French crew".

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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