From ‘Nikita’ to ‘Lucy’ — Luc Besson's 5 Bad-Ass Female Characters (Photos)

The French director has cemented Scarlett Johansson's status as a action star, but she's not the only one. Luc Besson has a long history with strong female characters

The Samuel Goldwyn Company
"La Femme Nikita" (1990)
Besson's third feature was the first to put him on the map with American audiences and the one to make him synonymous with strong female action heroes. It was a groundbreaking concept in 1990.
Columbia Pictures
"The Professional" (1994)
As the follow-up to "Nikita," 1994's "The Professional" introduced the world to a 12-year-old Natalie Portman in her feature film debut. She became a breakout star of Besson's by wielding a gun.
Columbia Pictures
"The Fifth Element" (1997)
Described as the perfect female specimen in the sci-fi world Besson created, Milla Jovovich became the latest Besson breakout discovery for her role as Leeloo, the idealistic savior of humanity.
Columbia Pictures
"The Messenger" (1999)
Besson reunited with his "The Fifth Element" leading lady Milla Jovovich for this retelling of the iconic French warrior. Seems like the perfect fit, but unfortunately "The Messenger" got mostly negative reviews and made only $14 million at the box office.
Universal Pictures
"Lucy" (2014)
Despite middling reviews and a C+ Cinemascore from audiences, Besson scored another hit with "Lucy," his first outing with a bona-fide movie star - Scarlett Johansson - as his kick-ass heroine. Scoring $44 million on opening weekend, the film is poised to become Johansson's biggest movie yet outside of her Marvel duties as Black Widow.