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Trivia / The Fifth Element

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  • Cast the Expert: Milla Jovovich is fluent in four languages, and so had little trouble learning the alien language written by Luc Besson. They were apparently able to have fluent conversations in the language by the end of filming.
  • Doing It for the Art: The film was a passion project for Luc Besson, having came up with the idea as a teenager and spending years trying to get it made.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Milla Jovovich's hair was to be dyed from its natural brown color to her character's signature orange color. However, due to the fact that her hair had to be re-dyed regularly to maintain the bright color, Milla's hair quickly became too damaged and broken to withstand the dye. Eventually a wig was created to match the color and style of Leeloo's hair, and was used for the remainder of the production.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • The wonder on Bruce Willis' face when the diva sings is real. That was the first time he'd heard it.
    • When Korben first meets Leeloo and she starts talking to him in her language, Luc Besson didn't tell Willis what Milla Jovovich was going to say to him, so Bruce's reactions are real.
    • Luc Besson got Chris Tucker into Ruby Rhod's Impossibly Tacky Clothes with a Bait-and-Switch; his first request was an outfit so hideously ridiculous no-one will speak of it.
  • Fake American:
    • British actor Gary Oldman plays Zorg, a character who speaks with an extremely exaggerated southern US twang (illustrated by the line "Leave them one crate. For the cause." which is so heavily accented it comes out sounding like "For the course.")
    • Also counts for Christopher Fairbank playing Professor Mactilburgh in an early scene. He's generally more well known as Moxey, a Scouser, in British comedy-drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
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  • Money, Dear Boy: Gary Oldman is such a good friend of Luc Besson, he took the part without reading the script, doing this film to repay Besson for part-financing his film Nil By Mouth.
  • Non-Singing Voice: Opera singer Inva Mula dubs the Diva's singing voice, while Maïwenn Le Besco portrays her. Reportedly Mula told the composer that the notes written for her were impossible, because the human voice cannot transition that way. The solution was for her to sing all the notes in isolation and then splice them together digitally.
  • Old Shame: Asked in a 2014 interview if he liked the film, Gary Oldman stated, "Oh no. I can't bear it." He had explained in 2011: "It was me singing for my supper because Luc had come in and partly financed [my film]."
  • Playing Against Type
    • Gary Oldman, sporting a slicked-down partial Mohawk, a beard like a misplaced Hitler mustache, a southern accent and giving one of the most low-key but still awesome performances of his career.
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    • Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. as the President, playing a more prominent and powerful role than his typical Scary Black Man parts.
    • Brion James playing something besides a low-life criminal scum.
  • Star-Making Role: Milla Jovovich, in her first lead after Return to the Blue Lagoon.
  • Throw It In!: Bruce Willis ad-libbed the line "I only speak two languages - English and bad English."
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Alert film buffs will note that Korben and Zorg never meet each other face to face. In an original draft of the script, Zorg would have faced Korben during the hotel evacuation, where the latter beat the crap out of the former for firing him and attacking Leeloo before stealing his ship (the ZF-1 was out of ammo, which resulted in Zorg's Villainous BSoD). Zorg then survives the destruction of the hotel with the personal shield of the ZF-1, only to land in a massive glacier. He then calls his secretary to send another ship, only for the battery in his ZF-1 phone to fail. That ending is featured in the novelization.
    • All the societal elites that Ruby points out at the opera were originally going to have more to do during the shootout at the hotel.
    • Originally, the film was going to star Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, and Prince. More explained here.
    • Jean Reno was considered for Korben Dallas.
    • Kevin Costner was considered for General Munroe.
    • Jamie Foxx was considered for Ruby Rhod.
    • Ruby Rhod's name was originally Loc Rhod. The name appears in the original script and the novelisation.
    • A set of alien garbage collectors were created for a shot that was cut from the final film. A huge pile of garbage has gone uncollected, which is still referenced in the film. The creatures would have been seen holding sandwich boards saying 'on strike' beside the garbage.
    • In an early script, Korben would have decided that Leeloo is too sexy and will distract him from saving the world, so he would have handcuffed her and left her half-dressed in his hotel room, before going to see the Diva sing.


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