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The Fifth Element: Prince Ruby Rhod casting didn't work out, says director Luc Besson

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Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element originally had a very different cast. Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts were planned for the two leads, and instead of Chris Tucker was Prince. The music icon was going to play eccentric media personality Ruby Rhod, but because of his tour schedule at the time was unable to star in the sci-fi film. 

Days after Prince’s death at the age of 57, Besson remembers the casting that almost was. 

Sketches of Prince’s planned costume were put on display back in 2013 at the Brooklyn Museum’s Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit, and the director shared one of them this week on Twitter. “He was supposed to play Ruby in the 5th Element…but couldn’t find dates during his tour,” he wrote

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Released in 1997 starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, The Fifth Element featured a former military man turned cab driver who had to find a cosmic weapon capable of stopping an evil threat. Some of Gaultier’s costume designs for Ruby reminded Besson of early Prince.