Hotel Artemis: Interview with Star Sofia Boutella

It’s a busy year for rising star Sofia Boutella, she is in the upcoming Hotel Artemis, co-starring Jodie Foster, and in Gaspar Noe’s controversial and erotic movie, Climax, which won the top award of the Directors Fortnight series at the 2018 Cannes Film Fest.

Fight Scenes

Sofia Boutella: In “Atomic Blonde” I didn’t have fight scenes, there’s a scene where I’m getting killed but that’s pretty much it. Charlize Theron did all the work. In our particular scenes in “Hotel Artemis” I did all the stunts, all of them, except for one movement where there’s this front flip that I’m doing with one of the stunt guys. The only reason why I didn’t do it is because the insurance wouldn’t permit it unfortunately. It was a lot of fun as well.

 

Jodie Foster

SB: She was so cute and adorable I just wanted to hug her all the time.  I was really intimidated at first because she’s someone who I grew up admiring, thinking she was such an incredible actress. But also when I was very little, maybe 10 or 11 years old, I remember my mother watching the news and she was on French news television and she was speaking a spotless French without any accent and my mom telling me she was actually not French. I remember being impressed because nobody speaks French without an accent coming from other countries. And then following her work…I always love her in “The Accused”, one of the works of hers that I love the most. I think she’s incredible in that film. And she’s wildly intelligent and I just felt very lucky to be in this movie with her. And when I stepped on set, I mean you have to make it about the character and that’s her devotion because you cannot let any other aspects step in because they’ll overshadow the purpose. But she’s very selfless in the sense that she’s really generous, she gives space to everybody including the crew and other actors. And then when you see on the big screen all the work that she does it’s incredible. In “Hotel Artemis” she breaks my heart, those moments that she has when she’s speaking with the cop, with Jenny Slate’s character, and you see her face changing completely when she sees a familiar face to when she’s with patients, I think that’s incredible work.

Dying With Honor

SB: I never thought about dying with honor but I think it’s a very strong sentence. I think the stakes are higher in the movie because of the circumstances. Los Angeles being a very front and forward character in the whole story and all the riots happening, which is something that we can go towards if we don’t pay attention to the environment and to our political state. But yes in those times, the Wolf King he cannot give that away and he cannot beg and so she’s giving him that opportunity because she definitely needs to die with honor. But she’s giving him that advice.

Father Musician

SB: My father is a composer. I play the ukulele. When I was little I used to play the piano but then as any adolescent I rebelled against my parents and thought, I’m just going to dance. I grew up in a very creative and artistic family. I remember when I was little I used to, if I learned something in school whether it was a number, a letter or writing anything I would take my crayons at home and try and do it on the wall and do it repeatedly on every surface I could possibly do it on, and my mom had enough. And so she gave me one wall and she told me this is your wall and I would draw on this wall. Unfortunately we don’t have this home anymore. And at the time, I don’t know how it was for you guys but my parents didn’t take many photos so I don’t have any evidence of it but I remember it. I feel very lucky because they always gave me that opportunity, they always gave me paints or gave me instruments or gave me an opportunity to have a voice other than the one that I emanate from my own mouth to express myself in any way, shape or form. And I feel lucky that way. My mom is an architect that paints all the time, my uncle he’s a musician, my father is a singer and my brother is an actor as well.

 

Origins

SB: I was born in Algeria and grew up in Algeria until I was 10 years old, and then we moved to France.

Los Angeles:

SB: I didn’t have any specific expectations. The first time I looked up Los Angeles on a map was because I was little and I was fascinated with Michael Jackson and I asked my mom where he lived and she showed it to me on a map. I was, oh that’s interesting. And then we were in France at the time and I remember when I started acting I was fascinated with…I started acting when I was 17 and I started researching classes that I would take and I started taking classes with teachers from the Actors Studio in New York and my teacher was Elizabeth Kemp who I love dearly who passed away not too long ago. But I was fascinated with maybe trying to go to the Actors Studio in New York and that didn’t happen because I carried on dancing. And my first tour with Madonna we rehearsed all of it in Los Angeles. And at the end of that tour, tour management asked me where I wanted to go back as my ticket to return at the end of the tour…I had two more months on my visa and I said Los Angeles not thinking that I’d end up staying here. It’s been now 12 years. So I sort of didn’t plan anything I just thought…that to me was my sense of freedom. We moved to France when I was 10 years old because there was a civil war in Algeria and it was not a safe place for a kid to grow in and a lot of people were escaping the country. And we were fortunate and lucky enough to be able to leave in a peaceful way and in a legal way.

When I moved to L.A. it was sort of my own sense of freedom and my own sense of, here’s my destination. I feel very…I love my background, I love that I’m Algerian and I’m proud of it and I’m proud that I have the French culture in my blood because it’s a big part of me. And I love that I took that freedom and explored Los Angeles on my own, and America really. And I feel very much part of this world.

 

 

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