In a 2017 interview with Nerdist, Besson revealed that “The Fifth Element” was initially conceived as a novel. “It was not a film in my head,” he said. “I never thought about making a film of it.” But when he established himself as a precociously talented director in his twenties with “Subway” and “The Big Blue,” he realized “The Fifth Element” had to be a movie.
The writing of the film as a screenplay proved difficult for Besson. “I was younger, I had less experience, and it took me forever to figure out,” he said. His eureka moment arrived when he helped his sister with a class exercise on Plato. According to Besson, this is when he discovered the film’s central theme, and hopes to pay the very dead Plato back in the afterlife.
“[Plato] wrote about [the five elements which were thought to comprise all matter], you know the water, the earth, the fire, and the air. And the fifth element is the human being. And I read the thing, and I said ‘F**k! That’s exactly what I’m missing.’ So, I have to apologize because I stole from Plato. When I see him up there [in heaven], you know, later? I will go to him and say, ‘Hey man, I’m sorry I stole your book.'”
Source From: www.slashfilm.com