Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Léon the hitman meets Norman Stansfield in 1:6 scale, the yin-yang of "The Professional" movie

Yes, they have to be paired: 1/6 scale Gary Oldman as corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield and Jean Reno as mob hitman / "cleaner" Leone "Léon" Montana 12-inch figures as seen in 1994 English-language French thriller film "Léon: The Professional" written and directed by Luc Besson. It has been that many years before these two finally meet in 1/6 scale ;p

Jean Reno's 1/6 scale head sculpts have surfaced many times over the years (I count at least eight toy blog posts I've done on Léon alone) but Gary Oldman's Norman Stansfield head sculpt is much harder to come by until recently.

A little trivia: According to Patrice Ledoux, Luc Besson planned Léon as filler. At the time, he had already started working on "The Fifth Element", but production was delayed due to Bruce Willis's schedule. Rather than dismiss the production team and lose his creative momentum, Besson wrote "Léon". It took him only 30 days to write the script, and the shoot lasted only 90 days. Ironically, "Léon" is now generally considered to be a far superior film to "The Fifth Element".

Luc Besson got the idea of doing this movie while working on his previous movie, "La Femme Nikita". In that film's third act, Victor the Cleaner (Jean Reno) appears to deal with the aftermath of Nikita's botched mission. Realizing the potential of the character was underused in that movie, Besson decided to create a story that focused on the activities of such a character. Both Victor and Leon appear dressed in a long wool coat, sunglasses and a knit cap. The film's working title was "The Cleaner".

During the scene when Stansfield (Gary Oldman) 'interrogates' Mathilda's father (Michael Badalucco), Oldman smells the father, and gets extremely physically close to him. According to Badalucco, he had no idea that Oldman was going to smell him, nor that he was going to get as close as he did. Badalucco says that in the film, his look of discomfort during the scene is completely genuine, as he felt decidedly intimidated by Oldman, and the physical proximity between the two made him very nervous.

According to Jean Reno, he decided to play Léon as if he were a little mentally slow and emotionally repressed. He felt that this would make audiences relax and realize that he wasn't someone who would take advantage of a vulnerable young girl. Reno claims that for Léon, the possibility of a physical relationship with Mathilda is not even conceivable, and as such, during the scenes when such a relationship is discussed, Reno very much allowed Mathilda to be emotionally in control of the scenes.

The original script had a much darker ending. After Stansfield shoots Leon, Mathilda performs the grenade ring trick (seen in one of the restored scenes of "Version Integrale") and opens her jacket to reveal the live grenades. It was changed by Luc Besson, fearing that the audience would not accept Mathilda's transformation from innocent girl to crazed juvenile killer. Besson had never intended such a transformation for the character.

Check out more pictures of the kitbashed 1/6 scale Gary Oldman as Norman Stansfield 12-inch Figure from "The Professional" HERE

See also my latest posts of 1/6 scale Jean Reno as Léon the Cleaner / Professional 12-inch figure HERE and HERE

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