• Rihanna is joining the cast of Luc Besson's futuristic thriller, 'Valerian'. (AAP)Source: AAP
The pop megastar is part of Luc Besson's vision of the future.

30 Oct 2015 - 10:51 AM  UPDATED 30 Oct 2015 - 11:08 AM

Rihanna has joined the cast of Luc Besson's epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the director has announced.

Her role isn't specified, but Besson, the filmmaker behind Lucy and The Professional, made the announcement on his Instagram account and teased that the part was a big one.

She joins a cast that includes Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Clive Owen (Closer) and Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns). Filming begins in France next January and the movie is expected to hit theatres on July 21, 2017.

Produced by Besson's EuropaCorp, Valerian adapts Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres' graphic novel and unfolds in the 28th century when humanity discovered time travel. The big-budget project has tapped three elite visual effects firms to help realise Besson's vision of the future -- Weta Digital, Industrial Light & Magic and Rodeo FX.

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Although best known for creating infectious pop songs, Rihanna recently starred in Battleship and lent her voice to Home.

The shooting will take place in France, at Besson's mega-studio housed at the Cite du Cinema in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris.

Besson initially considered lensing in Bucharest because French movies shot in English like Valerian were not eligible for Gauls tax rebate schemes for local and international productions. But the influential filmmaker broke grounds by getting the French government to draft a bill - now coined the Valerian amendement -- allowing French pics made in English to access the 30% tax rebate.

Besson's latest film, Lucy with Scarlett Johansson, grossed $126 million in the U.S. and $458 million worldwide.

Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report.

Editor's note: All figures quoted are in USD.

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