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Luc Besson rape accuser is French actress who played in two of his films

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Luc Besson rape accuser is French actress who played in two of his films
Sand Van Roy with Luc Besson, whom she has accused of raping her. Photo: AFP
16:40 CEST+02:00
The actress accusing French director Luc Besson of rape is a comedian and former model who will play alongside Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy and Luke Evans in Mr Besson’s next film Anna, due for release this autumn. Besson denies the allegation.
Sand Van Roy, 27, was photographed alongside the 59-year-old director in April at the Paris premiere of Taxi 5, the latest in the long-running French film franchise produced by Besson in which she has a small part.
 
Van Roy, who also had a cameo role in the director’s 180-million-dollar box-office flop Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets last year, was seen striding up the red carpet at the Cannes premiere last week of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
 
Two days later she was allegedly drugged and raped at the exclusive Le Bristol hotel in Paris by Besson, who denies the allegations which his lawyer has dismissed as "fantasist accusations".
 
The actress, who has also done stand-up comedy in New York, told police how she had "drunk a cup of tea, then felt unwell and lost consciousness", and when she came round she remembered being sexually assaulted, according to Europe 1 radio, which broke the story last weekend.
 
Since then the French media have revealed her identity and this was confirmed to The Local by her representatives. Van Roy did not respond when contacted for comment but her representative said she would likely make a statement in the coming days.
 
The news of the sexual assault accusations made the press on Saturday evening shortly before the Italian actress Asia Argento took to the stage at the closing ceremony of the film festival in Cannes, where she says she was raped by Harvey Weinstein in 1997.
 
She made an emotional speech warning that more male cinema figures would be held to account over sexual assaults they carried out.
 
Argento on Wednesday tweeted her support for Van Roy.
 
Actress Rose McGowan, who says she was raped by Mr Weinstein in 1997 and who is one of the most prominent figures in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, also took to Twitter to condemn Besson, who is married to film producer Virginie Besson-Silla, his fourth wife.
 
“I’ve been wondering how long this would take. We have heard about you, sir. I stand with his accuser: Luc Besson Accused of Rape,” she wrote.
 
 
The #MeToo movement has felled a host of major players in the entertainment industry in the United States, but so far no major figure in the French film industry has been brought down by sexual assault claims.
 
Media reports said Van Roy told investigators she had been in a relationship with Besson, one of the most powerful figures in the French film industry, for around two years but said she felt pressured into sexual relations with him for professional reasons.
 
Thierry Marembert, a lawyer acting for Mr Besson, said the actress was someone the director knew but "towards whom he has never behaved inappropriately".
 
A source close to Van Roy denied she and Besson had ever "dated".
 
The little-known actress worked as a model before taking roles in some of the films directed or produced by Besson, whose directing credits include The Big Blue, Lucy, and The Fifth Element and who produced the Taken series, starring Liam Neeson.
 
The multilingual Van Roy - she speaks English, Dutch, German and Italian as well as French - has also featured in French TV shows and has done stand-up comedy in New York, Amsterdam and in France.
 
 
Sand Van Roy takes a selfie with Luc Besson in the background at the April premiere of the film Taxi 5, produced by Besson. Photo: AFP
 
The next film she is due to feature in - with a very small role - is Anna, an English-language action thriller written and directed by Besson and due to be released in October, according to the IMDB film database.
 
Newcomer Sasha Luss will play the title role, supported by a trio of British and Irish stars, Oscar winner Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, and Cillian Murphy.
 
Few details have been made public about the plot, but Evans last month told a French cinema website that the film, which is now in the editing stage, would be a Cold War drama set in the 1990s.
 
“All that I can tell is about my character, a KGB spy and assassin. The film takes places in the 1990s… It’s an amazing story, very close to the early Besson films. I think it’s Luc at his best,” he told Allociné.
 
Evans told the website that Besson was a pleasure to work with and a brilliant director.
 
“France should be really proud of him,” he said.
 
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

On Friday he was arrested and charged with rape and several counts of sexual misconduct. Dozens of women have come forward since the scandal broke last October when The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of sexually predatory behaviour.
 
by Rory Mulholland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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