French director Luc Besson today publicly commented on incidents in Taiwan that earlier this week led to reports he was cutting his shoot time there short on sci-fi film Lucy. According to the Associated Press, Besson spoke with journalists in Taipei this afternoon and slammed overzealous paparazzi who made shooting at night “a nightmare.” But he denied he ever thought about getting off the island early. “I read in the newspaper that I was ready to leave,” he said. “This is wrong.” This confirms a report by Deadline’s sister publication Variety in which Christophe Lambert, CEO of Besson’s EuropaCorp, said the helmer wasn’t going anywhere until finishing his stint as planned. (It also speaks to what Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr wrote on Monday about Besson’s “stones” being such that the director was not one to run scared.) Besson shot in Taipei for 11 days with star Scarlett Johansson and was irked that shutterbugs were angling for shots of the actress in costume. “We don’t want pictures with new dresses of Scarlett,” he said, per the AP. “Sometime I lost a bit of my concentration because I’m bothered by that.” He pointed to two unnamed agencies from Hong Kong for special condemnation, the AP reported. With the Taiwan shoot now wrapped, Besson said work on the movie about “pure intelligence” will take another year.
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