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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.
By AliKat • May 22, 2018 • Gallery Update, Interview, Photoshoot


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?


Ultimately I loved being part of this film, I felt like I was learning and playing a character that was unique. I love the legacy of the book and feel like we were doing something that really truly matters, and I think it’s important that people are aware of the time we are in and where it could lead to. I loved working with the director Ramin, he gave me so many books to read, he talked a lot about philosophy and about the intellectual aspect. I felt as though I learned a lot and loved working with Micheal B Jordan and Michael Shannon.


Can you give us a quick idea of your character in the film Hotel Artemis? Why do you think Los Angeles is the setting for so many apocalyptic films?


I play a professional assassin who checks herself into a hospital for criminals in order to accomplish her mission, if I can say that without giving it away? I think it’s a testimony to the time we are in and could lead to. People it seems are rebelling against their government, it’s a bit blurry as to what’s happening in the city, it seems people are angry about something. I like that in this movie your mind can wander and imagine why this is happening. It’s interesting that it’s set in LA, I think it’s somewhere America or LA could end up if they keep heading this way and don’t do anything about the way we live, maybe ?


Could you describe your work ethic? You were a dancer from an early age; I imagine yours is in overdrive. How do you make time for a work/life balance? Is there a plan or just improvisation as it goes on?


My drive has always been the same… I’m absolutely passionate about acting. I gained a great deal of discipline from dancing. I apply the discipline I gained from dancing to everything I do. I’m grateful for it and love it.


How did your career morph into acting from dancing?


I started acting when I was 17, I did an audition in Paris and booked the job. I studied acting in Paris for a while and did a few other projects until I was 19. At that point I stopped acting and wanted to dance. I moved to LA when I was 24 and went to the Stella Adler academy and studied with Arthur Mendoza, I studied theater, did some theatre work in between my dancing. When I was 30 I stopped dancing entirely. It was quite a natural decision. I thought about it for 2 years, I made this decision not based on opportunities, but based on what I was truly passionate about. I asked myself the question for 2 years, I talked to people about it and woke up one morning and just wanted to act. I didn’t want to dance professionally any longer.


What sacrifices have you made for your career, or do you not look at them that way?


I don’t feel I made any sacrifices, as I truly feel I want to act. I’d say one sacrifice is that I’m away from my family and I don’t get to see them a lot.


Who is blowing your mind right now – artist, politician, journalist, friend, foe…? Who is blowing your mind as an artist right now?


People blow my mind , I feel like I’m inspired by people all the time . It varies , depends on what I’m looking at , what I’m working on. I was just looking at Judy Chicago’s work ; she’s a painter and feminist. I was also looking at Georgia O’Keefe. These are the latest I was researching.


Atomic Blonde was a brilliant film. And your part felt so fresh and exciting. How did the director, David Leitch express his ideas to you about her?


He described my character as some sort of French femme fatale with some aspects of her to be young and fairly green as a spy ensuring her character got sucked into the burning world of the story. Although he wanted my character to be strong and French, he allowed me to develop my character to be both strong and green and that’s why she made the mistake.




I’m excited about it, Charlize Theron is amazing in Atomic Blond and I can hardly wait to see that what they will do with the sequel.


Do you have a favorite choreographer that inspires you?


Pina Bausch I think she is a fantastic contemporary choreographer, Nina McNeely is amazing and Bianca Li. I have so many, did you get all those names? They are so relevant to me and mean a lot.


You were born in Algeria. What age were you when your family moved to France? Does being of Algerian descent inform part of who you are today? Do you have memories of the country that inspired your dance and acting career?


I moved to France when I was 10 years old. Yes of course I’m proud to be Algerian. My childhood was not in France. Algeria was quite a different world. When I was young, Algeria was going through a civil war and wasn’t the same conditions I had when we arrived in France. In France we were more privileged, in Algeria for example there was a 7 pm curfew and limited water available; once a week for 1 hour. So yes it was very different and it definitely influenced me into who I am. I think this helped me feel comfortable and adapt to dancing and living in America. This background inspired me because my father was a composer and my mother is an architect and painter. I grew up in a fairly artistic family, we were always encouraged to be artistic. I had a parcel on a wall in our house and my mother would encourage me to draw on it instead of drawing on the other walls in our home. So I was never suppressed artistically. I remember going to the Sahara desert when I was 6, I saw tribal dancing and how amazing they were. They were so inspiring to me, even though I did ballet.


Maybe you are familiar with Anthony Bourdain’s CNN show Parts Unknown. The show highlights lands rich with history, fascinating people, changing political climates and, obviously, great food. Algeria seems so ripe for his explorations (or any production like this). Anthony Bourdain is able to reach so many people from every walk, and educate us about humans and lands that we might know very little about even though the cultures are responsible for a lot of modern-day life. If your family could host Bourdain inside your/their Algeria, what places/landmarks would they find essential to showcase for insight? Your parents are such interesting people in their own right, do they have a story you can remember about their own lives from their time living there?


My family has incredible stories, for example, my father was born in the 1950’s and Algeria gained its independence in 1962. He was born in Germany and his parents went back to Algeria after living in other European countries. When they returned a lot of French people had fled the country and left most of their personal stuff in their homes. My father was 15 at the time and he would explore the empty homes and came across a contemporary artist of that tone and a record player. Once he played the Stan Kenton record he was instantly inspired to become a composer.


What is the most spectacular part of the world you have ever seen?


…. That’s a tough one. I feel that I have traveled a lot and seen and experienced spectacular cities. I’d love to go to Nepal or Peru. I find cities and their architecture spectacular, I love Paris and seeing the ancient buildings and how long they have been standing .. that is also spectacular to me. I was just in Nicaragua for 2 weeks, it was the first holiday I’ve had in 5 years. The sunsets and ocean were beautiful. I’m still aiming for Peru and Nepal next or somewhere like that. As haven’t enjoyed enough nature


I imagine you speak French and English. Any other languages in your repertoire?


French , English, I used to speak Arabic as a kid, but sadly, unfortunately I lost it, I’m no longer practicing it. But I can get by on a little bit of Spanish.


Can you tell us a bit about your film ‘Climax’ which is premiering while you’re in Cannes ?


I had a great experience, I loved working with Gaspar Noe he was fantastic. It was a different way of working, it wasn’t a conventional film making experience but I admired that. I had to think on my feet and that was interesting, I look forward to to seeing it.



I’ve added the rest of the beautiful photoshoot to the gallery.



Gallery Link:

  • Photoshoots > #091


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