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Welcome to Sofia Boutella Source, your ultimate resource for French-Algerian dancer, model, and actress. Sofia has shared the stage with Madonna and Rihanna and danced in many music videos, including starring in Micheal Jackson's Hollywood Tonight video. She shot to fame as Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service, an alien warrior named Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond, and the main antagonist, Princess Ahmanet, in The Mummy. Also, she starred with Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde as Delphine Lasalle. She was named Best New Action Star of 2017 by GQ Magazine and Female Star of Tomorrow by CinemaCon. In 2018, she starred opposite Jodie Foster in Hotel Artemis and the film adaption of Ray Bradbury's book Fahrenheit 451. She is starring in the upcoming French movie, Climax.
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BACKSTAGE – While always a performer, it wasn’t until after a fruitful dance career that age 30 Sofia Boutella shifted to acting. Although the Algerian talent spent a couple years without receiving any jobs, she saw the audition process as a continual learning experience and even compares her early days being on set with going to school. Boutella highlights the importance of being well informed and prepared for both auditions and jobs. As preparation for her latest film “Fahrenheit 451” (now streaming on HBO Now and fresh off an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Made for TV Movie), Boutella read the original book and studied the works of the creators of the movie. She recently sat with Backstage to discuss her process, her career, and what’s to come next.

Despite the difficult career transition, Boutella has no regrets.
“I’m confident that however things went it’s where I should have been. I don’t have any regrets—I rarely do, to be honest. And things were not easy at all, but I think that this is the way it had to happen. I’m very grateful and fortunate for how things are going right now. It’s so hard. My face doesn’t fit in a box. I have an accent. At 30 years old, changing my career completely was kind of scary, but I didn’t feel like I had much choice.”

Even as a multi-hyphenate talent, you sometimes have to reassess your priorities.
“I realized that I could not dance and act at the same time, and I meet people that are doing both and adding on top of that music and painting. I cannot do that, doesn’t work for me, so I have to choose every single time. I don’t know what I’m going to end up doing next, it’s just that I feel very fortunate to tell stories and be in storytelling. I felt always that when I danced, I went through a character and there was something that I wanted to say and express. It wasn’t just steps on music to me, and I feel like now I’m just putting a voice on those movements.”

Do your homework, and you won’t let yourself down.
“A bad audition when you go in the room, you have to learn how to let it go as long as you’ve done your best. If you haven’t done the work and you do a bad audition, I think that’s where it’s hard to come back from because you haven’t put the effort. But I think if you did your best and worked hard on it and actually bothered to try to earn what you may get, which is getting the job, I think you’re fine. Just moving on—I think it’s a learning process.”

Use auditions as an opportunity to hone your craft.
“[Auditioning] definitely helped me exercise my instrument. You know, get used to it and you sort of learn from it massively and it’s a good practice to have because if you’re not on set and acting, that’s a good opportunity to consider that as being work and a platform to learn from.”

Boutella strives to switch it up and show off her range.
“I’m fascinated by relationships when I read a script, of course, but I’m [also] fascinated by how much variation I can get. How can I challenge myself? I’m not looking to wear the same T-shirt in every film.”

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THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS – “Birth and death are extraordinary experiences. Life is a fleeting pleasure.” One of our favourite films from this year’s Cannes Film Festival back in May was Gaspar Noé’s superb horror-musical (yes) Climax. I remember sitting in a cinema on the Croisette early on a Sunday morning waiting for the delights the Irreversible and Love filmmaker had in store for us this time. We were not disappointed in the slightest. Well, a Climax UK release date has now been confirmed by Arrow Films for this September following a UK debut at August horror festival FrightFest. It is the closing night gala at the annual event on August 27th.

Climax UK release date confirmed

Following a troupe of eclectic and diverse performers coming together in a grungy rehearsal space to prepare for a US tour, Climax introduces us one by one via the dancer’s straight-to-camera audition tapes. Gay, straight, black, lesbian, Hispanic, multi-national twenty-somethings, they captivate individually while seamlessly blending into a hypnotic collective in a dazzling dance number, electrifyingly shot with cinematographer, and regular Noé collaborator, Benôit Debie‘s contortionist camerawork.

Post-performance, the after-party begins, Emmanuelle (Claude Gajan Maull) serves up some sangria and Daddy (Kiddy Smile) hits the decks as they gradually relax and reveal their innermost thoughts, desires, cravings, their last chance to really relax before they hit the road on tour. Everyone of either sex wants to hook up with David (Romain Guillermic), and he’s very willing to play along, despite Selva (Sofia Boutella), who has no idea of his inclination, and Ivana (Sharleen Temple) and Gazelle (Thea Carla Schott) are having serious couple issues. There’s Rocket (Kendall Mugler), the queen of high heel dancing and a brother and sister duo veering between protective and promiscuous. Soon reality starts to slip out of focus and the nightmare begins. The celebratory punch-bowl has been spiked with hallucinogens and the real trip is about to begin, as some descend on a hellish odyssey to psychosis and others orgiastically reach euphoric heights.

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NY POST – Like a contortionist, Algerian dancer-turned-actress Sofia Boutella twists into extreme positions. When the B-girl was busting moves with Madonna on two tours and three music videos, she could spin a handstand on one palm, pike freeze and do the gravity-defying Matrix.

 

Boutella’s speed and agility came in handy when it was time to film an epic fight scene in “Hotel Artemis,” one of two sci-fi movies she stars in this spring. “We made the sequences as long as we possibly could, and it was rough,” the sculpted 36-year-old tells Alexa during a recent interview at an East Village restaurant. Boutella plays a sultry French assassin in the action flick, debuting June 8, alongside Sterling K. Brown (a love interest from the underworld) and Jodie Foster (a nurse who runs a hospital for criminals).

 

“I did all the stunts myself except for the front flip,” says the petite dynamo, whose character takes out eight thugs in a hallway with ferocious kicks, furious elbow strikes, her teeth, a metal pipe and a handful of surgical tools. “I insisted that I take hits. I wanted blood on my face, I wanted to be sweaty, I wanted it to be more and more grim.”

 

Five years into her acting career, Boutella is a big-screen heroine with sexy swagger. Hollywood has embraced her fierce physicality, mysterious beauty and lilting English (French is her first language). After her breakout performance as a blade-legged henchwoman in the 2014 action flick “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” the Los Angeles-based artist landed a series of high-profile parts in blockbusters.

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Gallery Links:

 

11 Jun 2018
By AliKat • 1Gallery Update, Photoshoot

Sofia did a new collaboration with Keean Johnson.

 

 

 

Gallery Link:

  • Photoshoots > #092

 

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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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – After her role in ‘The Mummy,’ the dancer-turned-actor has been seeking out dramatic parts in ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ ‘Climax’ and this weekend’s ‘Hotel Artemis.’

 

 

Sofia Boutella might not yet be a household name or even a recognizable face, given how many times she’s worked under layers of real and/or CGI makeup. And yet, over the last four years, she’s cropped up in a number of tentpole action films as a supporting action star, playing a henchman with blades for legs in Kingsman: The Secret Service, a butt-kicking and rap-loving alien in Star Trek Beyond, the first bandaged female villain in a The Mummy movie (2017) and a French secret agent in Atomic Blonde. Action stardom seems to be hers for the slaying: Last year GQ called her “the best new action star of 2017” while Vanity Fair said she was “this season’s breakout action star.”

 

This year, however, the career of the dancer-turned-actress, 36, is taking a slightly different direction than the straight action stardom that some might have expected then. After she shot to fame in a series of stunt-heavy supporting roles, Boutella is appearing in a suite of dramatic parts this spring and summer: In Fahrenheit 451, released in mid-May on HBO, she plays Clarisse, a double agent who hosts an illicit book club; Hotel Artemis, out June 8, sees her taking on the role of an assassin who grows increasingly disillusioned with her trade; and in Climax, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, she plays the choreographer and de facto main character of the film’s central dance troupe.

 

As she breaks into roles that don’t require any roundhouse kicks, Boutella is challenging an industry that historically hasn’t offered a wide diversity of roles to female actors of color who start off in supporting big-budget parts. This year’s offerings, smaller movies than the tentpole fare she began in, are a start. “I used to love being part of dance companies that were obscure and different and outside the box and then I danced with Madonna, you know what I mean?” she says, sitting in her hotel room during a press tour for Hotel Artemis, one gray day in L.A. in May. “Having variations in my choices is very important, and it’s all character-driven, relationship-driven within the story and story-driven.”

 

It’s only Boutella’s latest career transition. Born in Bab El Oued, Algeria, to an architect mother and composer/musician father, she became a professional dancer after she moved to Paris at age 10, when her family left their country amid the Algerian Civil War. Though she debuted as an actor in 2002, after she booked a role as the love interest in Dance Challenge (Le défi), she decided to pursue a dance career first. “Having danced for a much longer time, I thought it would be only fair to give it its proper time,” she says. That decision led to mainstream success: Boutella toured with Madonna for 10 years, for instance, and starred in the music videos for Michael Jackson, Rihanna and Ne-Yo.

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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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