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Earlier this year FLUX caught up with the young aspiring French actress Sofia Boutella to discuss her turn as Samuel L. Jackson’s henchwoman Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service.
During the brief conversation she reflected upon the importance of creativity in shaping her personal and professional journey. “I was put into dancing when I was five and my family is very artistic. My dad is a composer and everyone is involved with some kind of art. So I grew up being creative and it is in a way second nature.”
But as she explained: “I have to find my own identity, although I have always felt creative and very inspired in wanting to understand my own journey.” During our brief engagement Boutella spoke to us about the way in which dance influences her approach to acting, and the excitement of engaging with this youthful stage of her career.
How has music and dance influenced your approach to acting?
When you enter into a piece like with choreography, it is not just about the steps, the music and the counts. It is about what is behind the steps, and it is the same thing with acting. When I started acting I could completely relate it to how I felt when I was dancing, because that’s where it felt familiar to me. It was just as if it were a natural continuity.
When you first read the script for Kingsman what was its appeal?
Well when first read the name Matthew Vaughn, because I am a big fan of his previous work I was thinking about jumping on board without first reading the script to be honest. The reason for this is I trust his choices, but also at my level of acting you want to be on set and you want to be learning. You have to be grateful to be offered a role like that, and on top of this it is an awesome spy film with a lot of action, which is fun and you can relate to it. But it was an amazing opportunity and I don’t think you can complain especially at my level.
At this point in my career I am not difficult whatsoever. I am only enthusiastic when I read a script, and I take up a challenge no matter what it is. I believe I will only get better by being on set and acting. So getting the job is the first goal and if the character and the script are great; if the director and the whole cast is amazing then even better. But I am grateful just to be on set, and just to be working is a great opportunity at this stage.
What are your impressions of the unique challenges that come from starring in adapted source material?
I have never worked on a project that was adapted from a book or a graphic novel before. This was the first time, and I decided by choice not to read the graphic novel. To be honest I did not want to be influenced by it because the film was a bit different to the graphic novel. But through the process I am learning those differences.
What did you take away from the experience?
I bring a lot with me from my dancing background where I was always very difficult with myself; self critical, and I was like that doing Kingsman. Sam Jackson helped me a lot by reminding me that it should be fun, and so I am taking this lesson with me, along with the amazing experience I had with Colin Firth and Matthew. I will never forget it and it is a big deal for me. This is the biggest film I have ever done and I was overwhelmed by it and I have learned a lot. But essentially I learnt to remind myself that I need to have fun in the process, because I naturally put a lot of pressure on myself, which I have done since dancing. But I had an incredible experience with essentially amazing actors and human beings, and I want to continue to be a part of storytelling. It has confirmed that I absolutely love this job.
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE is available now on Digital HD and released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 8th 2015 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Interview with Sofia Boutella by John T. Chance