Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Director Luc Besson on Tuesday praised the Taiwanese cast and crew members who contributed to his action thriller "Lucy," saying everyone worked together like a cohesive football team when the film was shot in Taipei last year.
Speaking at a press conference in Taipei, Besson said one of his fears when arriving in a foreign country is the uncertainty over the competence of the local cast and crew.
But after meeting with the Taiwanese actors, the director said he was "quite surprised" by how well they could perform and he was able to select from a pool of talented actors.
Taiwanese actors Hsing Feng and Ken Lin and Taiwanese American actor Mason Lee all played minor roles in the film.
When asked to rate the performance of the Taiwanese cast and crew, Besson playfully quoted Lucy in the film as saying, "no, in fact there are no letters and no numbers."
"Otherwise, I will say out of 10, I will give 12," he said.
He also said the crew, which included people from France, Taiwan and other countries, functioned like one cohesive football team, despite speaking different languages.
In an interview with the local press later Tuesday, however, Besson said he cast South Korean actor Choi Min-sik instead of a Taiwanese actor as the villain -- Mr. Jang -- in "Lucy" because Choi was the best choice.
Taiwanese actors still have "a little work to do" to Choi's level of performance, the director said.
Besson was accompanied at the press conference by his producer wife Virginie Silla. The couple arrived in Taiwan on Aug. 17 to promote "Lucy," which will premiere in Taipei Wednesday.
Discussing the motivation behind his latest film, Besson said he wanted to make a thriller with a philosophical message that looked at the question of what people do when they have power.
"There's a real question about power. Who deserves that power?" he said.
The only thing people can do with power, Besson said, is to "pass it on," like how cells in human bodies pass on what they know to other cells before dying.
"Lucy" stars American actress and two-time Esquire "sexiest woman alive" Scarlett Johansson.
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 potent drug, which unlocks the "full potential of her brain" and transforms her into a superhuman fighting machine.
(By Christie Chen)ENDITEM/ls
Related stories:●Aug. 19: 'Lucy' sequel unlikely: director Luc Besson●Aug. 18: Luc Besson thanks Taipei, says city feels 'like home'