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June 28, 2017

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City of Taipei one of the stars in Besson's action thriller 'Lucy'

TAIPEI--Director Luc Besson's new action thriller "Lucy" is not the first major Hollywood production to shoot in Taiwan, but it is the first one where Taiwan plays a major part in the storyline.

Of the film's 89-minute running time, more than half takes place against Taipei landmarks, showing off sites such as the Taipei 101 skyscraper, the Taipei Railway Workshop, the premier Regent Taipei hotel — and even the national flag, a big deal for diplomatically isolated Taiwan.

The Scarlett Johansson vehicle also makes sure to include one of the best known local delicacies, steamed dumplings called xiaolongbao.

Johansson plays the titular character, an American woman living and studying in Taipei who is forced to become a drug mule for a mob. She is accidentally exposed to the drug, which unlocks the "full potential of her brain" and transforms her into a superhuman fighting machine.

A few Taiwanese actors play minor roles in the film. Actor Hsing Feng makes an appearance as a taxi driver, while variety show host Ken Lin and Taiwanese American actor Mason Lee play hotel concierges.

Besson and wife Virginie Silla, who produced the film, arrived in Taiwan Sunday to promote "Lucy."

They are scheduled to attend the film's premiere at Vieshow Imax Cinemas in Taipei Monday and hold a press conference the following day before leaving, according to "Lucy" distributor United International Pictures.

It will hit local theaters Aug. 20.

As of Sunday, the film has made over US$168.53 million around the world since its release 24 days ago, according to Box Office Mojo.

Besson and his cast and crew spent 11 days shooting the Taipei segment of the film in Taiwan in October last year. The film was also shot in Paris and New York City.

"Lucy" is the first big Hollywood film to be shot in Taiwan since Ang Lee's 2012 adventure drama "Life of Pi."

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