The French director revealed the news on his Instagram.com account, posting a headshot of Hawke with the caption, "Ethan Hawke will play in #Valerian (sic)! I want to work with for years (sic)! We gonna have fun!!! (sic)".

The blockbuster is based on the 1967 novel by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres, and is set to be released in 2017. Besson is writing and directing the film, which is due to start filming at the end of 2015, according to editors at The Hollywood Reporter.

Hawke joins a star-studded cast that includes Clive Owen, Rihanna and Cara Delevingne.

The actor has yet to comment on the casting news.