Press: Sofia Boutella Talks Dressing for the Red Carpet and Working with Tom Cruise

 

VOGUE – Sofia Boutella may be the red carpet’s most exciting new face. Set to storm theaters this weekend in the blockbuster reboot of The Mummy franchise, Boutella has made waves during her first global press tour in designer looks that showcase her dancer’s physique and willingness to take a fashion risks. Whether arriving at the Madrid premiere in silver Miu Miu last month, stunning fans in a crimson Valentino in Mexico City on Monday, or taking to the red carpet in Taiwan wearing custom Prada, Boutella has pulled off a range of arresting looks in a short period of time.

Making a stop in New York last night at Saks Fifth Avenue’s party in honor of its window display featuring the movie’s costumes, Boutella continued her winning streak in a sequined Rodarte cocktail dress. Joined by co-star and recent Emmy-winner Courtney B. Vance and director Alex Kurtzman, she offered a preview of the dramatic looks she wore onscreen and shared her thoughts on getting glamorous with the whole world watching. Here, her take on why she’s a tomboy at heart and what it was like to work with her leading man, Tom Cruise.

 

On the creation of The Mummy’s costumes

 

“I love the process of how the costumes were made. I remember putting on the drapey mummy costume and being so impressed. It is basically just these squares of silk with different patterns and prints on them. There was a stylist on set with us who was just wrapping them around me, creating shapes as she went and trying things out. [Afterwards,] we decided which one we were going to use based on what she had done. It was interesting just to watch, to get into the costumes, and do the multiple makeup tests.”

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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: What Are Those Letters On ‘The Mummy’?

 

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – An undead monster is coming back to life this week.

 

The Mummy, set to bow Friday, has Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) finding what he believes is an ancient tomb, but later learns is actually a prison, and awakening an ancient princess, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), in the process. As the Mummy, Boutella is covered in an scroll’s worth of ancient runic letters from head to toe, a painstaking process that required hours to complete each time, according to makeup artist Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou.

 

“Her look took about three and a half hours,” Yianni-Georgiou, whose film credits include Guardians of the Galaxy and Notting Hill, tells The Hollywood Reporter. And that was an improvement. “When we first developed it, it was five and a half hours of makeup and hair with five people.”

 

The writing on Ahmanet’s body comes from the ancient Egyptian funerary text Book of the Dead and “the incantation asking the dead to come and help her,” explains the makeup artist of the lines of symbols running from Ahmanet’s face down to her legs and feet. Yianni-Georgiou used the MAC Penultimate Eye Liner as a stylus to create the prominent black writing, marks and lines.

 

For inspiration, the makeup artist studied mummies in museums and followed the backstories included in the script. “I had to take into consideration the stories that [director] Alex Kurtzman and the other guys had written to develop her and bring her to life.” (Or undeath, as the case may be.)

 

Boutella’s character doesn’t always look so terrifying in the film, however.

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Video: No Small Parts

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Press: Sofia Boutella says her ‘Mummy’ is ‘the definition of a feminist’

 

USA TODAY – Sofia Boutella had a nightmare day shooting scenes for The Mummy in which her Princess Ahmanet is dealt tough justice, ancient Egypt-style, for killing her pharaoh dad and baby brother. She’s entombed alive in a sarcophagus.

 

Boutella’s eyes popped wide through holes in the head-to-toe mummification bandages as she was placed into the stone coffin.

 

“There was a lot of fear, I didn’t need much acting to look frightened,” recalls Boutella, whose first language is French, speaking by phone. “It was weird, I felt really dispowered. I don’t know if that word exists, did I just make that up?”

 

“Dispower” is not a concept the 35-year-old Algerian-born actress dwells on as the title star of The Mummy (in theaters Thursday night). Boutella’s Ahmanet is the force putting fear into London and Tom Cruise’s soldier of fortune Nick Morton when he accidentally awakens her after 5,000 years.

 

Ahmanet’s impressive arrival thrusts Boutella’s Mummy into a mighty woman weekend at the box office along with Gal Gadot’s blockbuster Wonder Woman, which dominated with $100 million-plus last weekend. Both characters follow wildly different screen paths, but are owned entirely by powerful female performances.

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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: New Clip For ‘Atomic Blonde’ – The Politics of Dancing

COLLIDER – In The Fate of the Furious, Charlize Theron dropped a sloppy kiss on Vin Diesel to seal the deal on their villainous pact; in The Mummy, Sofia Boutella uses a similar approach as a means to dispatch her enemies. Now, for the first time ever, moviegoers will see these two femme fatales pit their wiles against each other in David Leitch‘s graphic novel adaptation, Atomic Blonde.

 

A new clip reveals Theron’s protagonist Lorraine Broughton meeting up with the mysterious Delphine (Boutella), who, it turns out, is not so mysterious after all, at least where the undercover MI6 agent is concerned. This all plays out to the band Re-Flex’s early 1980s song, “The Politics of Dancing,” placing the scene at just the right time in the heart of the Cold War. Look for the full reveal when Atomic Blonde hits theaters on July 28th.

 

Check out the clip from Atomic Blonde below:

 

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

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Press: Sofia Boutella calls her ‘Mummy’ character ‘the ultimate feminist’

LA TIMES – Actress Sofia Boutella embodies the titular character in the latest version of “The Mummy,” a reinterpretation of the 1932 Boris Karloff film and a reboot of Universal’s monster franchise. It shouldn’t be notable that Boutella’s furious ancient Egyptian villain is female, but it is.

 

“Why aren’t monsters being played by women?” Boutella muses, lying on a couch during an interview here. “If you piss off a woman she’s far more brutal than a man. How come they didn’t think about that before?”

 

Boutella, 35, has selected one of Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” shirts to wear while doing press for the movie, which opens Friday. She doesn’t mean it as a political statement, but more as a general comment on why it’s important to have equal representation on film. She’s just pleased to be part of one that doesn’t downgrade its female characters.

 

“Ahmanet is the ultimate feminist, I think,” Boutella says of her character, an Egyptian royal who is denied her shot at becoming pharaoh because she’s not a man, thus igniting her wrath. “What happened to her is something that’s always existed and, weirdly, still does, being prevented from ever becoming pharaoh because her father has a child and the child is a boy. She’s not OK with that. She doesn’t victimize herself. And the movie also does not victimize her.”

 

Boutella originally turned down the role in director Alex Kurtzman’s film; she didn’t want to play an angry monster, but a woman with real complexity and a back story. “But as much as I said no to begin with I’m so grateful I said yes,” Boutella says. “I feel lucky to be part of this film.”

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Gallery: NYC Events and Photoshoot Updates!

I’ll get all the interviews caught up tomorrow. I tried to do it all today but Sofia has been so busy!

 

 
  
  
 

 

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