The Professional was thought to be inspired by Luc Besson’s relationship with the 12-year-old Maiwenn Le Besco. Besson was 29, much like Matilda, who was also 12, and Leon, 30.
Leon: The Professional was inspired by Luc Besson’s romance with Maiwenn Le Besco, which began when he was 29, and she was 12. Besson left Le Besco for Milla Jovovich.
Who is Luc Besson?
Luc Paul Maurice Besson was born on March 18, 1959, in Paris, France. Besson’s parents were diving instructors that worked for the Mediterranean company, which has a chain of resorts globally. Besson grew up on the coasts of Yugoslavia and Greece and other coastal sea resorts his parents worked.
When Besson was younger, he wanted to become a marine biologist; unfortunately, he got into an accident when he was 17, depriving him of his dream. Besson returned to Paris for education but found it boring. He tried various jobs but what set him towards the silver screen was when he was hired as a stage manager, thanks to his experience in photography. Two years later, Besson went to Holywood to pursue this career but was unsuccessful then.
Besson’s career in the motion picture studio started on his third movie, Subway, in 1985. He continued creating movies in his studio named Dolphin’s movies, after his favorite animal.
His first English movie, The Big Blue, gave Besson global fame, earning him several César Awards and other accolades. He continued to create movies that became famous like Nikita, Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, Joan of Arc, and Lucy, to name a few.
Besson is still active in the entertainment industry and is currently married to Virginie Besson-Silla, a Canadian-French film producer. (Source: 24 Celebs)
The Professional’s Inspiration
The 1994 film Besson directed, Leon: The Professional, was a controversial film upon its release. The story follows an unlikely relationship between a teenage girl and an older assassin.
Matilda, played by Natalie Portman, is a tough 12-year-old girl who survives the murder of her father. Her father was a drug dealer who maintains shady dealings with the DEA. Leon, played by Jean Reno, is Matilda’s neighbor. Leon is an uneducated but skillful assassin who is also a recluse. The two forms an unlikely relationship when Matilda asks Leon to avenge her father’s death and teach her to be an assassin. (Source: Roger Ebert)
Speculations on how Besson came up with the story of Leon: The Professional soon came out. Allegedly, it was partly inspired by Besson’s real-life relationship with Maïwenn Le Besco. He met 12-year-old Le Besco when he was 29 years old.
Besson and Maïwenn claimed they started to see each other romantically when she was 15. When she was 16 years old (and Besson was 33), Le Besco gave birth to her daughter and moved to Los Angeles.
The couple married in 1992 when Le Besco was only 16 then, but the two separated in 1997.
When Luc Besson did Léon, the story of a 13-year-old girl in love with an older man, it was very inspired by us since it was written while our story started. But no media made the link.Maïwenn Le Besco
(Source: The Daily Beast)