With the recent passing of legendary musician—and legendary everything else—Prince, there has been an outpouring of grief, praise, and fond memories from fans and people who were lucky enough to have actually worked with the Purple One. Luc Besson, legendary in his own right as the director of films like Léon: The Professional and Lucy, joined the chorus of the bereaved by not only sending his well wishes, but also pointing out that Prince was originally supposed to play Ruby Rhod in his 1997 mega sci-fi blockbuster, The Fifth Element.
Ruby Rhod as a character makes so much more sense now, right?
Although this fact was reported by sources like io9 and Blastr back in 2013, Besson himself took to Twitter today to send off Prince with a quick salute (“#Prince on Earth, King in Heaven”), as well as a picture of the sketch French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier originally made for what would have been Prince’s costume had he taken on the part of the funky androgynous radio star with billions of listeners.
— Luc Besson (@lucbesson) April 23, 2016
Prince was unable to play the part because, as Besson points out, the shoot dates for the film didn’t align with his tour dates. Although according to Gaultier, Prince did see this sketch (which is shown in further detail in the gallery below) in person, but deemed it “too effeminate” (Gaultier’s words) for his taste. There also may have been a language mix up, as Gaultier spoke with a heavy accent, and let’s just say “faux cul” can sound frighteningly disrespectful to somebody who doesn’t speak French.
Although it’s unfortunate we didn’t get even more Prince in our lives, it’s hard to say that The Fifth Element suffered with Prince’s replacement, Chris Tucker. Most would probably agree that Tucker nailed the part of Rhod, delivering an iconic performance as the man who made the Fhloston Paradise females quiver like no other. Except for Prince of course, who could’ve had any heart he wanted while he was here on Earth, and still probably can in whichever paradise he’s now making a bit more purple.
What do you think about Prince almost playing Ruby Rhod? Let’s go crazy in the comments section below!