Category: Interview

Press: Sofia Boutella on ‘Hotel Artemis’, Gaspar Noé’s ‘Climax’ and ‘Star Trek’

COLLIDER – With Hotel Artemis opening in theaters this weekend, I recently sat down with Sofia Boutella for an interview. During the wide-ranging conversation, she talked about getting to work with writer-director Drew Pearce, why she wanted to be part of the film, how excited she was to work with Jodie Foster and Jeff Goldblum, the action scenes, and more. In addition, she talked about making Gaspar Noé’s Climax and the positive reaction at Cannes, if she knows what’s up with future Star Trek movies and a lot more.

 

If you’re not familiar with Hotel Artemis, the film takes place in a near-future Los Angeles and revolves around a secret members-only hospital that caters to criminals. Run by The Nurse (Jodie Foster), the hospital has various rules (including no weapons and no murdering other patients) that are put into question when an object of great value enters its gates. The film also stars Sterling K. Brown as “Waikiki,” Dave Bautista as “Everest,” Sofia Boutella as “Nice,” Jeff Goldblum as “The Wolf King/Niagara,” Brian Tyree Henry as “Honolulu,” Jenny Slate as “Morgan,” Zachary Quinto as “Crosby,” and Charlie Day as “Acapulco.” Hotel Artemis arrives in U.S. theaters on June 8th.

 

Check out what Sofia Boutella had to say below.

 

Collider: How’re you doing today?

 

BOUTELLA: Good. You know, the day after the premiere.

 

(laughs). Yeah, so you guys showed it last night?

 

BOUTELLA: Yeah.

 

You did press all day, then you showed the movie, and now you’re back here today doing press all day.

 

BOUTELLA: Yeah. (laughs). You know the drill. As you know, you know, it’s my first premiere in LA. So, I invited a lot of friends, and that consisted of a lot of chatting and a lot of catching up because I don’t spend a lot of time here. It was just lovely to have people over and to do that kind of work and have friends around.

 

Yeah. Also, the movie was shot in LA.

 

BOUTELLA: The movie was shot in LA. What a fucking chance! (laughs). You know, for Drew to have his first movie about a love letter to LA and being able to shoot in LA, in downtown LA. Not just LA, but downtown LA.

 

Completely. You’ve done a lot of roles where you’re wearing makeup. When you meet with Drew about this movie was your first question, “Am I wearing makeup?”

 

BOUTELLA: No, luckily I had read the script and then we talked and I saw in the script it was no makeup, which I loved. Then, we talked and he described it to me. Everything was on the page. I kept saying yesterday, the writing is so incredible. He envisioned the hotel, the hospital, and the whole world was exactly on the page and when I stepped on set- his vision was completely translated. He was extremely specific with his idea of what he wanted and that’s what I think everybody fell in love with, the original world. It’s so refreshing to read something like that.

 

Completely. Also, what’s interesting about it is that it’s noir and futuristic. Can you talk a little bit about the world because it takes place in 2028. It has 3D printing for medical stuff, it has futuristic stuff, but it’s also still retro.

 

BOUTELLA: Yeah, it is. It’s sort of a potluck of all the stuff. All the genres that he loves. He’s such a film gore. He loves different kinds of movies and he has specific references, and that’s his mish mash of all these films.

 

It’s also his first time directing a feature. Did you ever feel on set that it was his first time?

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Press/Gallery: Interview with Content Mode

 

CONTENT MODE – I was able to steal a bit of time over the phone with Sofia Boutella as she landed in Cannes to attend premieres of two films: Fahrenheit 451 in which she stars with Michael B Jordan and Michael Shannon. As well as Gaspar Noe’s film ‘Climax’. Our interview takes place as she is settling into her hotel which came with added long distance ambiance to our conversation with the sounds of sirens and the chaotic sounds of the typical Cannes in peak festival season in the background. As I was editing this interview I noticed that her film ‘Climax’ won the coveted ‘Art Cinema’ award at the 2018 Directors Fortnight at Cannes. A small foresight of where Sofia Boutella’s acting future is heading by virtue of pure talent.

Q&A by Jaimie Kourt

Interview by Deborah Ferguson

 

Looking at your film career, a lot of Science Fiction/Dystopian/Action titles appear on your resume. Is that a choice, your preferred genre? Are you a fan of those kinds of movies? What is a genre you are chomping at the bit to attempt?

 

My goal isn’t just to go for SciFi, action and or dystopian themed films. My direction depends on what I read script wise, it could be SciFi or action I’m open to anything and for me it’s about the relationships within these projects, that’s what I’m after.

 

F451 is about a society that is burning books. If this happened, and you could save one book, what would it be?

 

I’d say two books anything by Antoine de saint Exupery, as I grew up with his books as a child and I love what they represent for children and for adults/ I also think Notes from the Underground by Dostoevsky.

 

Were there discussions about Ray Bradbury’s thinking in writing this? About his perhaps foreshadowing of fear-driven leadership? Did you as a cast speak about how close to home this subject just may be touching upon?

 

It’s propaganda right? That’s something that has existed for a long time right? My personal take depends on what character you are in the movie. My character grew up reading books. Something I say to “Montag” in the movie is ‘ we demanded a world like this because we all bought into this lie and we accepted this world we live in”.

 

AND what a cast! Do you have an anecdote or favorite memory of the shoot?

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Press/Gallery: Sofia Boutella on Her 5-Year Journey to Hollywood

For Bazaar’s 15th Anniversary Issue, Dance-Turned-Actress Sofia Boutella Discusses Learning English with Madonna to Acting Alongside Jodie Foster

 

 

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) – After a long day of work, Sofia Boutella does what many of us do—exchange the day’s ensemble for a trusty pair of sweats. Hers just happen to be a personal gift from Madonna. “She gave me these on my first tour with her,” Boutella, a former professional dancer, explains of the black tracksuit she slips into after wrapping her photo shoot with BAZAAR. “They’re still my favourite comfy clothes,” she shares, completing the off-duty look with a pair of classic Doc Martens. What else would you expect from a terpsichorean, who had just spent the entire day leaping and pirouetting in the heat around downtown Los Angeles?

 

Boutella makes the cover of BAZAAR Malaysia’s 15th Anniversary Issue, which, coincidentally, is exactly how long it’s been since Her Madgesty gifted her the tracksuit. Although she was born in Algeria and raised in France, it was in Los Angeles where Boutella was thrusted into rehearsal upon booking her first gig with Madonna. She was thrilled, of course, but she knew she was standing at the foot of an enormous learning curve. There was choreography to master, the physical demands of a worldwide tour to prepare her body for, and—no big deal—she needed to learn English. “I struggled to understand what everybody was saying, but I had to learn very fast,” she recalls, speaking now in near-perfect English glazed with a French accent. “It was incredible to be thrown into that world. Watching Madonna work, I learned so much.” And learn she did; applying that same energy and passion on set as she would on stage over the years. Case in point: her bold, electrifying dance moves, which seemed to juxtapose against Louis Vuitton’s 18th-century inspired Spring/Summer ’18 collection. Even in a brocade tailcoat (the same one French first lady Brigitte Macron was spotted in, just a few days before our shoot), she keeps it on point—literally, on her toes, dancing through the streets of Vernon.

 

In a world of Insta-fame, Boutella’s career path is a timely reminder of the pay-offs that come with persistence, staying true to oneself, and trusting time. Her first on-screen appearance came in 2002, when she played—surprise!—a dancer in the French movie Le Défi. She loved the experience and enrolled in acting classes, taking on a few more projects in Paris. In the beginning, “it wasn’t that much,” she says. “In the span of four years, [I only had] maybe three or four projects.” She was pursuing dance at the same time, which began to demand more and more of her time. “I decided to devote myself to dance, focus on that, and not have my butt in two chairs,” she says of the conscious decision to shelve her acting ambitions. “The dancing that was required of me at the time was really intense because it required a ton of travel,” she adds. “I was always a suitcase away from any place.”

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Videos: “Atomic Blonde” Interviews and B-Roll

 

Video: “Atomic Blonde” Official Interview

Press: Iris Covet Book Interview

IRIS COVET BOOK – Positioned to take the main stage with two summer flicks set to be box office smashes, playing opposite Tom Cruise in The Mummy and alongside Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, Sofia Boutella is ready for her close-up.

 

 

Photography by Ellen Von Unwerth | Styling by Deborah Afshani | Art Direction by Louis Liu | Editor Marc Sifuentes | Interview by Dustin Mansyur | Dress by J GERARD

 

Sofia Boutella is about to blow out the candle on a chocolate lava cake served up graciously by the pastry team at Chateau Marmont. Glasses of champagne are lined up across a low wooden table, ready to serve. Swarthy and saturnine, Boutella sweeps her dark locks to one side and leans over the cake, pausing momentarily as she closes her eyes to make a wish, before extinguishing the flame with a flash of her infectious smile. “Bravo!” everyone cheers while Sofia flits a bashful round of thanks. The celebration is actually impromptu during a lunch break, and Sofia is on-set for a photoshoot with Ellen Von Unwerth at the famed West Hollywood hotel. Birthday or no birthday, embodying a femme fatale for a crème-de-la-femme celebrity photographer is all in a day’s work for Boutella, who’s poised to unleash her prowess with two movies in this summer’s highly-anticipated release of Alex Kurtzman’s latest installment of The Mummy and David Leitch’s spy thriller, Atomic Blonde. Maintaining her coquettish sensuality while kicking ass is a razor wire that Boutella jetes upon with ease, even if it involves otherworldly makeup or taking a punch on set.

 

Hailing from Algiers, the ingénue actress is actually a multi-faceted artist who began her career as an internationally-acclaimed dancer, enrolling in classical dance education at the age of 5. Later, when her family moved to France, Sofia continued dancing, adding rhythmic gymnastics to her education, and joining the French national team by the age of 18. In 2006, with her dance troupe The Vagabond Crew, Boutella went on to win the World Championship Hip Hop Battle, making her an undeniable force in the world of dance. With several smaller film and commercial appearances already under her belt, she made a breakout appearance in a series of iconic Nike campaigns choreographed by legendary choreographer and creative director, Jamie King. Quickly garnering the interest of several high-profile musicians, Boutella found herself dancing for Madonna, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Usher and many others. Breaking out on the big screen, her most recent film appearances include Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond co-starring Zoe Saldana, Chris Pine, and Zachary Quinto and Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, alongside Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson.

 

Here IRIS Covet Book shares a conversation with the blockbuster beauty about lesbian love scenes and mystic monsters with heart.

 

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Press: ‘All Americans think they are Irish. Right?’

THE IRISH TIMESThe live-wire Algerian actor on dancing with Madonna and channelling Boris Karloff

 

 

“Ireland is beautiful. Though I suppose it rains all the time,” Sofia Boutella says. “I drove to Kerry on the wrong side of the road for the first time. I thought I was going to have an accident with the sheeps. I was terrified. Why the hell do sheeps go in the f***ing road like this? Aren’t they told?”

 

Today’s younger movie stars tend to be well-schooled. They know what to say and how to say it. But you don’t meet that many who swell with character and eccentricity. Boutella looks to be an exception. Born in 1982, the Algerian actor is, I suppose, not that young any more, but, after an initial career as a successful dancer, she is only now making louder noises in mainstream film. She was great as an alien scavenger in Star Trek Beyond. She was super in the recent Irish three-hander Tiger Raid. Now, opposite a breathless Tom Cruise, she plays the title character in Universal’s latest disinterment of The Mummy.

 

It’s a good role for an ex-dancer. There’s a lot of feline writhing and demonic glowering. Those hours hoofing with Madonna on the Confessions tour didn’t go to waste.

 

“Thank you. Yes, it was physical,” she says. “She’s never been pharaoh, but I think she’s carrying herself with some sort of pride that I wanted to find. I researched ancient mythology . . . ”

 

And she’s off. Boutella talks as if speaking is about to be abolished and she must enjoy the chatter while she can. She went back and watched the 1932 version of The Mummy with Boris Karloff to get a few tips. She initially turned down the role, but, after devising a more offbeat villain, talked herself back into it.

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Press: How Sofia Boutella Became the Mummy, in 4 Not-So-Easy Steps

 

VULTURE – “We constantly transform ourselves emotionally, so why not do it physically?” asks Sofia Boutella, who has been making a recent habit of blockbuster metamorphoses. After a big-screen breakthrough in 2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, where she popped as a henchwoman with blades for legs, Boutella slathered herself in striking white makeup for last year’s Star Trek Beyond to play the curious alien Jaylah. She made herself over once again this week for the new big-screen reboot of The Mummy, where the 35-year-old Algerian actress has the title role opposite Tom Cruise. “It’s a part of the job, and I’m embracing it,” Boutella told Vulture. Here’s how she made her mummy come to undead life.

 

Look for the connection

 

When The Mummy director Alex Kurztman first sent Boutella the script for his reboot, she wasn’t convinced. “I remember reading it and I thought, Uh, no, I’m not doing this,” laughs Boutella. “The first script I read was a work in progress, a template just to start off preproduction, and I was afraid to just play a monster who walks around town scaring people.”

 

After Kurtzman sat down with Boutella to talk over the role, it started to expand. No longer just a mostly mute bogeywoman, this version of the mummy has royal lineage and a dark backstory: Born Princess Ahmanet in ancient Egypt, the character is supposed to inherit an entire kingdom until her father sires a son. Robbed of what she feels is her birthright, Ahmanet pacts with the god Set to kill her family and, once unleashed in the present day, rain down even more destruction.

 

“I had to empathize with her, and I wanted to humanize her,” says Boutella. “The beauty of the original monster movies is that you were able to relate to every single character, or even to treat their monstrosity as an emotional metaphor.” So even though Ahmanet chooses an evil path, Boutella sees those supernatural enhancements more like a protective shell: “It’s about closing yourself off from the people who were supposed to love you,” she says. “If you’ve ever been hurt to that extent, it’s hard to come back from.”

 

Move like a mummy

 

A former dancer, Boutella spends a lot of time pondering her character’s movement. “I think people can tell you a lot about themselves before they even start talking, just by how they sit or how they walk,” she says. “Finding the physicality with Ahmanet was very important. I want to show her strength and power through her body.”

 

So yes, Ahmanet may move with the same sort of stiff purpose you’d associate with other big-screen renditions of the mummy, but Boutella gives that deliberate pace a more regal bearing: “She carries herself as royalty, even more so after she’s been denied.”

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Press: Hollywood’s Next Big Thing: ‘Mummy’ Star Once Danced With Madonna and Rihanna

 

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTERThe Algerian-born star, who appears opposite Tom Cruise in Universal’s high-stakes monster tentpole, danced professionally for years before scoring her breakout role in ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service.’

 

Sofia Boutella may not have been hidden for 2,000 years like the character she’s playing in Universal’s The Mummy (June 9), but the former professional dancer has re-incarnated herself as a leading actress.

 

Born in Algeria and raised in Paris by a musician father and architect mother, Boutella has been dancing since she was 5. In 2007, at 25, she was chosen as the face (and body) of a Nike campaign; starred in a slew of music videos for Rihanna, Usher, Ne-Yo and Madonna; and starred in two of Madonna’s tours. But when she turned her focus to acting, she gave up dancing for good — the last time she was onstage was at Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl halftime show.

 

“I haven’t even taken a dance class,” she says. “I can’t mess with it. Dancing is too dear to me and I would want to perfect it. I really love acting and I feel like I should give it a proper go.”

 

That year, Boutella landed the lead in StreetDance 2; since then she has built up her career with a breakout role as Kingsman: The Secret Service’s blade-legged assassin and as alien Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond.

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Video: “The Mummy” Cast at AOL Build in NYC

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