Besson happy to meet the press on Friday: Hau

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 - Page 3

The Taipei City Government yesterday said it has resolved French director Luc Besson’s complaints about media intrusion while he was filming in Taipei, and that the director will meet Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) on Friday to promote the movie and thank the city for its assistance.

The shooting of Besson’s new film, Lucy, in Taipei sparked controversy in the past week, after the director was reported to be angry over extensive media coverage of the event and threatened to cut filming short after reporters allegedly frightened actress Scarlett Johansson by getting too close to her taxi to get a shot.

Hau yesterday said Besson did express concern about reporters interrupting the shooting, but the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Taipei Film Commission have made great efforts to communicate with the crew and persuaded Besson to continue with the original filming schedule.

“We would have lost a great opportunity to promote Taipei if the director got upset and decided to cut short the filming or edit the footage shot in Taipei,” Hau told a press conference at Taipei City Hall.

The city government invited Besson and his crew to shoot in Taipei, with the commission offering to subsidize the crew as part of the government’s efforts to promote Taipei internationally.

Asked how much the subsidy was, Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liu Wei-kun (劉維公) declined to answer, citing a confidentiality agreement.

He said Besson was happy about the city government’s assistance in smoothening the shooting process, and agreed to join the mayor in meeting the press and discussing the movie on Friday at the Taipei 101.

In addition to the subsidy, the city sent police to maintain public order during the filming. Hau also sent flowers and fruit baskets to Besson, Johansson and crew members, promising a friendly filming environment in the wake of the crew’s conflict with local media.

“There will be other world-

renowned directors coming to Taipei next year to shoot films, and we don’t want [the incident] to affect their plans,” he said.