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#067 Luc Besson: Leon: The Professional vs. Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard

Download MP3 In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Luc Besson's best and worst rated films,  Leon: The Professional (1994) and Arthur and the Revenge of the Maltazard (2009), respectively. Nate hates Malt Lizards, Austin thinks Natalie Portman peaked in Phantom Menace, and they both are HITMEN for GARY OLD-MAN. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Kathrn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker (2008) and Blue Steel (1990), her best and worst rated films.
Also check out this behind the scenes footage from the making of Leon: The Professional:

Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: Arthur answers a distress call from Princess Selenia, who is menaced by the nefarious Maltazard.
  • Ratings: IMDb 5.6 | RT 14% C / 32% A
  • Released: 2009
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Writer(s): Patrice Garcia (characters and universe), Luc Besson (screenplay) (dialogues), Luc Besson & Celine Garcia (characters)
  • Cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast (The Fifth Element, Lucy, La Femme Nikita)
  • Notable actors: Freddie Highmore, Selena Gomez, Logan Miller, Omar Sy, Mia Farrow, Fergie, Jimmy Fallon, Snoop Dogg,, Cem Yilmaz, Robert Stanton, Penny Balfour, Lou Reed
  • Budget: $90 million
  • Box office: $78.5 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Arthur and the Great Adventure is actually a UK only release, an edit of the second and third films, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard and Arthur and The War of The Two Worlds

Leon: The Professional Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.
  • Ratings: IMDb 8.6 | RT 71% C / 95% A
  • Released: 1994
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Writer(s): Luc Besson (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast (The Fifth Element, Lucy, La Femme Nikita)
  • Notable actors: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello, Peter Appel, Willi One Blood, Don Creech, Michael Badalucco, Ellen Greene, Elizabeth Regen
  • Budget: $16 million
  • Box office: $46.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • During the scene when Stansfield 'interrogates' Mathilda's father, he smells the father, and gets extremely physically close to him. According to Michael Badalucco, he had no idea that Gary Oldman was going to smell him, nor that he was going to get as close as he did. Badalucco says that in the film, his look of discomfort during the scene is completely genuine, as he felt decidedly intimidated by Oldman, and the physical proximity between the two made him very nervous.
    • According to Jean Reno, he decided to play Léon as if he were a little mentally slow and emotionally repressed. He felt that this would make audiences relax and realize that he wasn't someone who would take advantage of a vulnerable young girl. Reno claims that for Léon, the possibility of a physical relationship with Mathilda is not even conceivable, and as such, during the scenes when such a relationship is discussed, Reno very much allowed Mathilda to be emotionally in control of the scenes.
    • The scene in which Stansfield talks about his appreciation of Ludwig van Beethoven to Mathilda's father was completely improvised. The scene was filmed several times, with Gary Oldman giving a different improvised story on each take.
    • This is Natalie Portman's motion picture debut. She was 11 when she was cast.
    • Keith A. Glascoe, who played the enormous Benny, or 3rd Stansfield Man, later became a member of the New York Fire Department, Ladder Company 21 in Hells Kitchen. Courageously he died in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
    • In a 2014 Playboy interview, Gary Oldman said his screaming of the now iconic line 'Bring me everyone!' was improvised to make director Luc Besson laugh "in previous takes, I'd just gone, "Bring me everyone," in a regular voice. But then I cued the sound guy to slip off his headphones, and I shouted as loud as I could." The yelled take is the one used in the film.
    • When the film was first tested in LA, the version that was screened incuded a short scene where Mathilda asks Léon to be her lover. However, the audience became extremely uncomfortable and began to laugh nervously, completely destroying the tone of the film. The film received terrible test scores at the screening, and as such, producer Patrice Ledoux and writer/director Luc Besson decided to cut the scene for theatrical release.

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down - Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0

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