DUBAI - Egyptian thesp Amr Waked ("Salmon Fishing in the Yemen") has joined the cast of Luc Besson's "Lucy," playing a prominent role as a French cop in the English-language sci-fier alongside Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, and South Korea's Choi Min-sik ("Old Boy").
Touted by EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert as the biggest-budget pic Besson's shingle has ever produced, "Lucy" is the tale of a female drug mule, played by Johansson, who gains superhuman powers after the drug she is carrying enters her body.
Waked, whose international credits besides "Fishing" include turns in "Syriana," HBO's "House of Saddam," and "Contagion," said he is glad to be playing a Frenchman, albeit of Middle Eastern origin, "to get out of typecasting, in a part with no race stamp on it." Waked has the fourth most prominent role in the pic.
Though Waked is keeping mum about plot details of his policeman role, he called "Lucy" "something new and unexpected," adding that the "variety of artists from different countries make it a very global project."
"Lucy" has been described by Besson as being a film "about pure intelligence." "We're basically using 10 percent of our brain. What happens when we use more?" he told reporters in November, after wrapping an 11-day shoot in Taipei which was disrupted by local paparazzi trying to get shots of Johansson's look in the pic, with Besson hellbent on keeping it under wraps.
Produced by EuropaCorp and Gaul's TF1 Film production, with backing from paybox Canal Plus, "Lucy" started shooting in mid-September at Besson's recently opened Cite du Cinema megastudio on the outskirts of Paris where most of the pic's lensing is taking place.
Universal has worldwide rights outside China, France and Benelux to the picture which is skedded for a late 2014 release.
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