Algerian born Sofia Boutella is already well-known as a dancer  " />
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lime Screen Interview: Sophia Boutella

Lime interview - Screen

Sophia Boutella

words by

Cassam Looch

Reporter: Cassam Looch

Algerian born Sofia Boutella is already well-known as a dancer 

having starred in some of the biggest advertising campaigns and music videos of recent years. You\'ve almost certainly seen her moves opposite the likes of Ne-Yo, Madonna, Rihanna and many more. Now she headlines her first major feature film, with \'Streetdance 2\' hitting the screens later this month, and we caught up with Sofia to find out more.

Could you tell us a bit about your background?

I was born in Algeria and I started ballet when I was 5. I then went on to rhythmic gymnastics when I moved to France at the age of 10, which lasted until I was 18. In the mean time I did modern jazz and continued with ballet. At 16 I started hip-hop. I started acting at 18 when I was cast in Le Defi with Blanca Li. Afterwards I studied for two years in Paris. I then continued dancing more with Nike and Madonna on two of her world tours. When I moved to Los Angeles, I focused on acting and for the past five years have been studying at \"ACT\".

You obviously have fantastic dancing skills, but have you trained in acting as well?

Yes I have, I trained in Los Angeles at ACT, \"Actor\'s Circle Theatre\". I also studied the Stella Adler Method with Arthur Mendoza.

What was the most difficult thing about acting for the screen?

I would say the most difficult thing was to spend all day (10 hours) in my Latin heels. Other than that I loved every moment of it!

What do you think of Street dancing films in general, and what did you think about the first \'Streetdance\' film?

I love the \"old dance movies\" like the The Red Shoes, West Side Story and The Band Wagon. I felt that the new wave of dance movies were not considering the story lines as much as the dancing, which left the characters with great dance moves but sometimes poor substance, interest and thickness in their story lines. I do now understand how it can affect and inspire the younger generations and that is what’s important! I think the story lines of dance movies are getting better with time; I enjoy them.

Does filming in 3D make things more difficult, and what are the differences from regular 2D filming?

I didn\'t feel a difference. The 3D team were very discreet, we only had to do two or three isolated movements for them to capture.

Your character in the film uses classical dances like the Tango with more modern styles. Is this something you are comfortable with?

Yes, it’s always good to expand our minds and create fusions! I think that getting inspired by many different things allows us to move towards the right artistic direction, and stretch our instruments. The choreographers Rich and Tone Talauega did an amazing job at making that fusion come alive.

There are a number of other dancers in your crew in the movie, did you know any of them beforehand? And did you teach one another any new techniques?

Yes I knew most of them from the dance community. Unfortunately we didn\'t have much time to teach one another because we already had to work really hard on what needed to be done for the movie. We were focused on the movie and story and the specific dance each one portrayed in the film.

The world of competitive dance seems quite different to that of films and adverts. Do you miss entering the competitions and going up against other dancers?

No, but I think about it as something that I adored and cherished and I did it with all my heart. It belongs in my past; I feel that I have grown and I now feel excited by different things.
It did help me grow as a person, as an artist and I will always have love for it.

Were you ever worried about leading a big project like this?

No I was excited and I still am.

Who are your acting heroes, and what sort of films do you enjoy watching the most?

I love Meryl Streep, Sir Laurence Olivier, Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Daniel Day Lewis, Morgan Freeman, Marlon Brando, Helena Bonham Carter. I can go on and on about actors I look up to but these are some of my favourites. I love any movies that are inspiring and tell the truth about history, humanity or people. I also love movies that allow the audience to be able to relate to the characters. I love creative movies, as well as good comedies.

This issue of Lime Magazine is dedicated to the women of the world. What\'s so fabulous about being a woman in your world?

There is a saying that I have heard since I was little; \"Paradise is underneath Women\'s feet\". But yet I grew up wishing I were a boy, I was a real tomboy, completely denying my femininity. After having experienced life a bit more, watched my mother and her courage, the women in my family, my girlfriends and the incredible inspirational women I\'ve worked with, I changed my mind and realised the blessing it is to be a woman. Today, without any doubt, I believe that paradise is underneath women\'s feet!


Finally, what was most challenging? Street dancing in high heels, or kissing Falk on screen?

Definitely dancing in heels all day long. Repeating the same choreography in them was pretty painful. I finally had to use this cold spray to numb my painful toes but not the moves! ;)

\'Streetdance 2 (3D)\' is released nationwide by Vertigo Films on 30 March  

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