U.S. Release Date: 7/25/14
Scientists have long doubted the popular myth that humans possess more brainpower than the 10 per cent that is actually used, but director Luc Besson’s Lucy shows us that such a notion still makes intriguing Hollywood fare.
What can happen if a human brain is used at 100 per cent capacity? What would that do to the human body and what would it allow the human body to do?
Such questions are answered in the thriller, starring Scarlet Johansson as a young lady who dramatically ups her brain power and develops superhuman mental and physical capabilities after accidentally ingesting a chemical substance.
During a vacation in Taiwan, Lucy is grabbed and held hostage by some thugs, working for the brutal Mr. Jang (Choi Min Sik), who surgically implant her with a package loaded with a powerful synthetic substance. Their goal is to send her flying across the world as a transport vessel for a priceless material.
However, after the chemical is accidentally released into her body, her cerebral capacity skyrockets to ultra high levels, allowing her to develop telepathy, telekinesis, expanded knowledge and other superhuman traits.
In an attempt to turn the tables on her captors, however, Lucy – constantly protected by French police Captain Pierre Del Rio (Amr Wakd) – high tails it across the world to enlist urgent help from Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman), who has spent decades researching the brain’s potential.
“After I met with a few scientists,” says Besson, “I was amazed by what they told me about cancer, cells and the fact that we have hundreds of billions of cells that communicate with one another.”
Besson, known for thrillers such as La Femme Nikita, Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element, learned that each cell sends out approximately 1,000 signals per second.
“The Web is nothing compared to that. It took me a few years to find the right balance between what is real and what is fantasy.”
To find a mix of reality and fantasy, Besson enlisted the advice of Yves Agid, co-founder of the Paris based Brain and Spine Institute.
“There are true facts. For instance, Lucy deals with the number of cells in the brain, the number of signals per second produced by one cell, etc. By taking advantage of all these figures, Luc implements a fascinating dynamic throughout the movie. When you see the film, you believe it. It grabs you because it is grounded, to some extent, in reality.”
As for the starring role, meanwhile, Besson figured Johansson, whose action resume includes Iron Man and the more recent Captain America: Winter Soldier, had a nice knack for precision and professionalism.
“When we first met, Scarlett had read the script and I enjoyed the way she talked about it. She was excited for the right reason, which was the story. At that moment, it was a done deal for me. She was definitely the one.”
For her part, the actress, who was well familiar with Besson’s previous work, knew she could trust the filmmaker.
“I remember meeting him and he said, ‘You have to trust that I know what this is about because it can be vague at times. But if you see what I’m seeing, you’ll believe in it.’ So, I took a leap of faith. He’s a formidable guy who knows what he sees in his mind and wants that vision to be executed perfectly.”
Studio: Universal Pictures
Writer / Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min Sik and Amr Wakd
Producers: Virginie Besson-Silla
Executive Producer: Marc Schmuger
Source: Universal Pictures
Image Info: Scarlett Johannson in “Lucy.” Photo Credit: Jessica Forde. Copyright: © 2014 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.