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15+ Facts About “The Professional” That Many Generations of Fans Adore

In 2020, Luc Besson’s great film turned 26 years old. It not only gave us an amazing story, but it also became the perfect starting point for actors that are now well-known and loved around the world.

The Bright Side team applauds the entire crew and wants to share some little-known facts about this iconic movie with its readers.

  • Besson had the idea for this movie after he finished working on Nikita. The director of the film thought that one of the characters of the film, Victor, definitely deserved his own film. Besson described Léon, who took inspiration from Victor, as, “Now maybe Jean (Reno) is playing the American cousin of Victor. This time he’s more human.”

  • The parents of 10-year-old Natalie Portman were totally against this casting, because the film was definitely not for children. But Natalie really loved the script and literally fought for her first job. She even told her parents in the middle of the fight, “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever read! You’re gonna ruin my life!”

  • Besson took a long time to choose the right actress for the role of Mathilda. Portman was first considered to be too young for the part. But then, when they didn’t know what to do, they invited her to the casting again. She was asked to play a very emotional scene, and then Besson liked her so much that he was sure she was the right one.

  • Léon was written for Jean Reno, but Mel Gibson and Keanu Reeves were very interested in the role.

  • Léon’s full name is Leone Montana.

  • Jean Reno specifically made his character a bit slow, so that the viewers wouldn’t think that Léon could be interested in Mathilda as a woman.

  • The biggest improviser on stage was Gary Oldman. For example, in the scene where he talks about his love for Beethoven, in every new take, the actor told a new story of why he loved the composer.

  • And the iconic scene with “BRING ME EVERYONE!” was actually meant to make Besson laugh. Oldman gave the sound director a signal to remove the earphones and yelled the line as loud as he could. And the joke worked perfectly — Besson laughed and they kept the shot in the film.

  • Another really memorable and fully improvised scene was between Oldman and Mathilda’s father. There was no reference to him sniffing out lies in the script, which is why the actor that played Mathilda’s father was genuinely confused.

  • Natalie Portman was supposed to cry, but wasn’t able to create even one tear. Then, Luc Besson went to extremes and started sprinkling her eyes with mint oil. It was so unpleasant that the little actress quickly learned to cry for real.

  • Many critics agree that the choker on Mathilda’s neck meant that she was ready for serious measures in certain situations. When she removes it, she becomes the innocent child she never had time to be.

  • For her unusual look, Portman was inspired by the look of Marilyn Monroe and by Mike Myers’ parody in Wayne’s World.

  • Samy Naceri had a small role in the film. Besson liked the actor so much after 10 days of work, that he wrote the script of Taxi especially for him.

  • A funny situation happened during the production process. A real criminal tried to rob the store next to the house that the police in the movie were supposed to go in. When he saw the number of policemen, he decided to give up. But he didn’t know that the policemen were extras in the film!

  • The script for the sequel has existed for a long time. The film was supposed to be about the older Mathilda, but for a number of reasons it was never green-lit. Partially, the script of the sequel was used for Colombiana with Zoe Saldana.

  • The script for The Professional was written during a forced break, while working on The Fifth Element. The production started just to keep the crew in shape. But now, there are very few top-film lists where The Professional is not included.

What is your favorite scene in The Professional? Tell us in the comment section below!

Preview photo credit Leon / Gaumont