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May 30, 2017

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Taipei mayor attends 'Lucy' premiere with director Luc Besson

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday attended the premier of famed French writer-director Luc Besson's "Lucy," a film that was partially shot in Taipei featuring local backdrops and actors.

The premier of the film was held at the Vieshow Imax Cinemas in Taipei's Ximen District. Aside from Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚) who also accompanied Hau to the event, cast and crew who were in attendance included Besson's wife and film producer Virginie Silla, young local talents Mason Lee (李淳), Ken Lin (阿Ken) and veteran actor Hsing Feng (邢峰).

"It was very cool to work with the director," said Lee during the opening event. "My brother and I grew up watching his films such as 'Leon: The Professional' and 'The Fifth Element.' So having the opportunity to work with him was an honor and a great experience."

Reportedly, Besson chose Taiwan because of a brief trip to Taipei twenty years ago while on a press tour for "The Fifth Element." During his stay at the Regent Hotel, the sights and sounds from the trip stuck with him so much that when it came time to choose an exotic locale in his first draft of the "Lucy" script, Taipei and the hotel were at the top of his list.

In response to Besson's efforts in including Taipei into his film, Hau presented the director with the first ever Key to Taipei City, thanking Besson on behalf of Taipei as the film provides a positive marketing image for the city. "What you have done for Taipei is very great," Hau said, "so much so that you deserve this key to our city, as well as an honorary citizenship, so that wherever you go, you will feel welcomed."

After receiving the Key to Taipei, Besson presented Hau with the movie graphics book which the director personally used to reference his shots and design during the film. The book was reported to be the only one made, which Besson said was his way of thanking the mayor for the key.

In the conclusion of the opening ceremony, Besson hinted at the coming of a Hollywood director who will be arriving in Taiwan to shoot a feature film. He half-jokingly implored local media to "let the director shoot in peace," alluding to the difficulties he faced during the shooting of "Lucy."

"Lucy" will open in local theaters on Wednesday Aug. 20.

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