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Scarlett Johansson Joins ‘Lucy’ as Luc Besson’s Latest Ass-Kicking Lady

Movie Talk

Scarlett Johansson Joins ‘Lucy’ as Luc Besson’s Latest Ass-Kicking Lady

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Actually, we're kind of surprised that it took the guy who made "The Fifth Element" this long to notice everyone's favorite Marvel superheroine.

Luc Besson seems to finally be getting his director's groove back after over a decade of favoring writing and producing. And what better way to get back in the game than by telling the kind of tale that's always been near and dear to the filmmaker's heart -- one that features a gorgeous woman shooting guns and punching a bunch of people in the face.

That latest gorgeous woman is Scarlett Johansson as she's signed on to play the title role in "Lucy," a rock 'em, sock 'em action thriller about a drug mule who accidentally ingests some of her merchandise and is subsequently transformed into ... well, a gorgeous woman who shoots guns and punches a bunch of people in the face. Actually, there's a twist -- the stuff gives her something resembling superpowers, as she's now able to absorb knowledge instantaneously and move objects with her mind. She can't feel pain, either, which means she'll just keep coming at you until your face is properly punched, no matter what you throw back at her.

It sounds like Besson bringing his particular brand of female rage to the comic book genre, and with an A-list star like Johansson in the lead, you know it will be at least as big as the Besson-produced "Taken," which featured Liam Neeson pummeling every single person in France as he searched for his kidnapped daughter.

Like Joss Whedon (who directed Johansson in "Marvel's The Avengers"), Besson likes the pretty girls who know how to handle themselves in a fight, as evidenced in films like "La Femme Nikita" (1990), "The Fifth Element" (1997) and "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999). They're not always the good guys, either -- the Besson-produced "Transporter 2" featured Kate Nauta as a double-gun moll who strutted around literally in only her underwear for the entire duration of the film.

After "The Messenger," Besson took a six-year break from directing, finally returning to the chair with the black and white noir comedy, "Angel-A" (2005). He dabbled in animation with "Arthur and the Invisibles" (2006), "Arthur and the Great Adventure" (2009) and "Arthur 3: The War of Two Worlds" (2010), which were based on his own children's fantasy book. His latest live-action efforts are "The Lady" (2011), which tells the story of Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh) as she becomes the core of Burma's democracy movement, and "Malavita," the recently completed mob drama starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones that's set to hit theaters on September 20.

Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson will next be seen opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Don Jon," opening October 18, and is currently filming "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which hits theaters on April 4, 2014. She's also got Jonathan Glazer's sci-fi drama "Under the Skin" in post-production.

See Scarlett Johansson in a clip from 'Marvel's The Avengers':