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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

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Milla Jovovich, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
Jack English

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

Current Status:
In Season
141 minutes
Milla Jovovich, Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich
Luc Besson
Columbia Pictures
Luc Besson, Andrew Birkin
Drama, Historical, ActionAdventure

We gave it a C-

America may have devoured two cosmic-catastrophe movies, but are we really ready for a pair of Joans? Slower than you can say Leelee Sobieski (star of CBS’ ”Joan of Arc” miniseries), Sony is weighing in with its own big-screen biopic of the doomed heroine. As if repetition weren’t bad enough, Sony’s version has already suffered plenty of time at the stake.

According to a lawsuit filed by director Kathryn Bigelow (”Strange Days”), it started in 1996, when Bigelow brought a Joan script to Besson (”The Fifth Element”), who was going to exec-produce. Besson wanted future wife Jovovich to star (as she did in ”Element”); Bigelow preferred Claire Danes. Besson left the project and started his own.

Last year, Bigelow sued for breach of contract, fraud, and unfair competition; the suit is still pending, and lawyers for both sides refuse to comment. ”It’s an unfortunate thing that happens to people who work together,” says Jovovich, who recently separated from Besson. ”I don’t want to get into it. Let’s just say there were creative differences that neither could deal with.”

Untouched by the controversy was Malkovich, who plays the French king. ”I never heard about Kathryn Bigelow — I’m a total ignoramus about things like that. But I don’t think anything affects Luc Besson.” BUZZ FACTOR: 3

Go to the official website.