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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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By AliKat • July 19, 2018 • Interview, Photoshoot, Press

 

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.

 

Not only does Boutella make combat choreography look killer — whether she’s playing the titular Egyptian warrior princess opposite Tom Cruise in “The Mummy” or a fearsome alien in “Star Trek: Beyond” — but she brings unexpected subtlety to athletic roles. Her gaze flickers with emotion, even when she’s wearing prosthetics.

 

In her first non-action role in an American movie, she plays Clarisse in HBO’s just-released adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451.” A frightened, desperate informant to government censors, her character is also a resistance fighter who ends up enlightening fireman Michael B. Jordan — and, in a tender moment, kissing him.

 

Boutella discussed the necessity of the lip lock with Jordan, then asked director Ramin Bahrani if they could skip it.

 

“I find it more compelling when you see people who have strong feelings for each other and don’t actually consummate it,” she explains. But Bahrani shot it both ways and ended up leaving in the smooch. “It was lovely,” admits Boutella of kissing the chiseled hunk. “I can’t complain! Michael is very clever and invested and thoughtful. I felt so lucky to work with him.”

 

She also didn’t moan about filming a widely admired sex scene with Charlize Theron in the stylish Cold War thriller “Atomic Blonde.” PopSugar rated their steamy spy-on-spy makeout one of the best movie kisses of 2017.

 

And she certainly didn’t grumble about the four to seven hours of fantastical hair and makeup she endured daily for both “Star Trek” and “The Mummy.” She just used the time to nap.

 

Boutella is thankful for every job, having abandoned her first profession on a leap of faith. It was during rehearsals for Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl halftime show — her last gig as a professional dancer — that she decided to devote herself to acting full time.

 

“I woke up one morning feeling that I did not want to dance anymore,” says Boutella, who had appeared in a few French movies and shows a decade earlier. “I told Madonna that even if it takes two years, I know I have to do this. It literally took two years. Not one paycheck! I was about to become a housekeeper; I figured that I would make $100 per house every day, and that was a lot of money for me at the time.”

 

Boutella’s fortune changed overnight when she booked “Kingsman.” Since then, she has continued to build her reputation as one to watch through roles in seven feature films. She’s going back to her voguing roots in Gaspar Noé’s upcoming orgiastic dance film “Climax,” which debuted this month at Cannes to rapturous reviews.

 

The free spirit grew up in a creative family. Her father, Safy, is a composer and musician while her mother, Samya, is an architect. They lived in Algiers until she was 10, and immigrated to Paris in 1991 during Algeria’s violent civil war.

 

“My written and spoken French were pretty poor, and I was two years behind in school,” recalls Boutella, who is lively and unpretentious. “I had to adapt, and the mentality was very different. I was bullied, but I wouldn’t hit back. I didn’t have a big mouth to shout back. I would just extract myself, and I would be on my own.”

 

She also lacked the name-brand gear favored by her Parisian classmates. “My clothes were not cool,” she continues. “I wore the same pair of shoes until I had a hole in them.”

 

Classically trained in ballet, she took refuge in dance studios. She quickly added rhythmic gymnastics to her repertoire, competing on France’s national team at age 16. Next, she mastered jazz, hip-hop and freestyle, and joined the Vagabond Crew, breaking in front of Paris’ Saint-Eustache church for money.

 

A 2005 Nike commercial showcasing Boutella’s stunning flexibility led her to Madonna’s Confessions and Sticky & Sweet tours — and an enduring friendship with the pop star.

 

“I admire and love her, and she’s always been such a pillar of guidance for me,” says Boutella, who has fond memories of their years on the road together. “Madonna is hilarious. She would come onstage and do a sound check, doing all the lyrics, talking about us. She didn’t take herself seriously.”

 

Madge even gifted the former tomboy her first heels — a pair of silver glitter Pradas. “She asked me if I had ever danced in heels, and I said, ‘No.’ She gave them to me and said, ‘There is a beginning for everything.’ ”

 

These days, Boutella employs her own glam squad and rocks the red carpet in designer labels like Valentino, Vera Wang, Chanel and Dior. “People see me as edgy, but when I dress for the red carpet, I want to be classic.”

 

Back home in LA, she’ll hang out with friends in workout wear or torn cutoffs and Doc Martens. Of course, these days the globe-trotting actress is rarely off-duty.

 

“I’m addicted to working,” says Boutella before heading out to catch yet another flight. “It’s always different, which is the beauty of it.”

 

 

 

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