Fascinating Behind-the-Scenes Facts Unveiling the Futuristic World of 'The Fifth Element'

Unveiling the Futuristic World of "The Fifth Element": Dive into the fascinating realm of behind-the-scenes trivia with these 50 intriguing facts about the iconic film. From groundbreaking special effects to captivating set designs, explore the secrets and creativity that brought this sci-fi masterpiece to life. Prepare to be amazed!


The Fifth Element, a hallmark of '90s space operas, is an iconic sci-fi film cherished by many. This futuristic movie, replete with unanticipated heroes, lavish attire, and eccentric characters, has intriguing behind-the-scenes stories to share. So, gear up for a thrilling journey into the dystopian world of this extraordinary film.

The Infamous Diva Scene Almost Got Cancelled

One of the most complex scenes in The Fifth Element is the grand opera performance by the Diva. Due to an unfortunate incident on the LAX tarmac, this scene almost didn't make it into the film. Back in the early ‘90s, films were shot on physical film reels. The film for this scene was mishandled during transportation to the plane, and a forklift crushed it. The film editors managed to piece together what they could salvage, so the mishap went unnoticed.

Prince Was Originally Cast in the Movie

The comically eccentric character Ruby Royd, was portrayed by Chris Tucker. However, the legendary musician Prince was originally slated for the role. Owing to Prince's hectic schedule during the '90s, he was unable to commit to the project, making us wonder what the film would have been like with Prince playing Ruby.

The Film’s Concept Originated from a Teenager

French director Luc Besson, known for his innovative sci-fi creations, started conceiving alternate universes for his movies as a teenager. The concept and original script of The Fifth Element were developed by Besson at the age of 16. He credits his imaginative ideas to his mundane upbringing in rural France.

Leeloo’s Wig Came About by Accident

During filming, a mishap in the hair and makeup department led to a change of plans for Leeloo's character. She was supposed to represent peak human health, but when the stylists left orange dye in Milla Jovovich’s hair for too long, her hair started falling out, necessitating the use of a wig for the remainder of the shoot.

French Fantasy Comics Inspired the Film

Luc Besson’s opulent world of The Fifth Element was not solely a product of his imagination. French sci-fi comics, known for inspiring several popular movies, heavily influenced this film. Notably, Besson drew inspiration from French graphic novels like Jean-Claude Mézieres’ Laureline and Valérian, The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky, and more.

Leeloo’s Divine Language is a Real Construct

Leeloo, in the film's first half, speaks an alien dialect. This was not just a random gibberish but an original language created by Luc Besson, named The Divine Language. A dictionary of approximately 400 words was developed for Milla Jovovich, although her dialogue was left open to interpretation, hence no English subtitles.

The Fifth Element Was the Most Expensive Non-Hollywood Movie at the Time

Despite its Hollywood-like glamour, The Fifth Element was not a Hollywood production. However, due to the extensive use of visual effects and CGI in 1997, the budget exceeded the team's expectations. The film, with a budget of around $95 million, was the most expensive non-Hollywood production of the time.

Milla Jovovich Almost Missed Her Role

It's hard to imagine The Fifth Element without Milla Jovovich playing the orange-haired Leeloo. However, she almost missed out on the role after a less-than-ideal first audition. Besson felt Jovovich was overdressed and too made up for the part. But after seeing her without makeup months later in an LA hotel, he decided to give her another shot.

Luc Besson and Milla Jovovich Had a Romance

While filming the movie over ten months, the cast and crew grew very close. Besson, who was married to Maïwenn at the time, started a secret relationship with Jovovich. The couple got married seven months after the film's premiere but parted ways two years later.

Actors Were Practically Blind Inside the Alien Costumes

The film extensively used practical effects, including costumes for the alien species Mondoshawans. The actors inside the costumes were almost blind, and tiny TV screens and headsets had to be incorporated into their masks to help them navigate the set.

The Diva Scene Was Shot Like a Real Concert

The notorious "Diva Scene" in The Fifth Element was surprisingly challenging to film. Instead of shooting in a studio and adding the audience later, it was filmed like a real concert. The camera crew had not seen the outfits or the choreography beforehand, so their reactions to the performance were completely authentic.

Bruce Willis Was Feared to Be a Diva

The cast and crew were worried that the film's biggest star, Bruce Willis, might act like a diva on set. However, contrary to their fears, Willis proved to be a great team player.

Luc Besson’s Personal Touch

Besson had a clear vision for The Fifth Element. Instead of relying solely on the camera crew, Besson preferred to be hands-on during the shooting process, working directly with the actors and overseeing the framing himself.

The Film Led to a Divorce

The role of Diva Plavalaguna was taken up by Maïwenn Le Besco, Besson's then-wife, after the original actress dropped out. But during the shoot, Besson started a relationship with Milla Jovovich, leading to the end of his marriage to Maïwenn.

Elaborate Costumes Designed by Jean Paul Gaultier

The Fifth Element broke the sci-fi norm of monochromatic or gray color schemes, thanks to the vibrant costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier. He created approximately 1,000 unique pieces for the film, resulting in over ten individual fashion collections.