Star-struck by A-Blonde

Theron knocks Boutella out at first then thrills her as they co-act

Central and North Burnett Times - - SCREEN LIFE - SCREEN LIFE with Seanna Cronin

SHE may have just starred in The Mummy op­po­site Tom Cruise, but Sofia Boutella was still star-struck by Char­l­ize Theron. The women play Bri­tish (Char­l­ize) and French (Sofia) agents work­ing in Berlin dur­ing the Cold War in David Leitch’s new ac­tion film Atomic Blonde.

First ris­ing to fame as an as­sas­sin in Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice, Sofia is also well known for her role in Star Trek Be­yond. As she re­veals in this Q&A, the Al­ge­rian-born ac­tor was thrilled to work with Char­l­ize af­ter ad­mir­ing her Os­car-win­ning per­for­mance in Mon­ster.

Q: How did you get the role?

A: I was film­ing Star Trek: Be­yond in Van­cou­ver when I got the au­di­tion. I was thrilled by what I read and I re­ally wanted to be a part of it. First, we did a Skype au­di­tion, so I went to a cast­ing stu­dio in the city and David (Leitch) was on the other end of the com­puter screen. Af­ter that, I flew to Los An­ge­les one week­end to sit down and read with Char­l­ize and David, which was re­ally ex­cit­ing and a great ex­pe­ri­ence.

Q: Did you look at the graphic novel source ma­te­rial, The Cold­est City, at all?

A: Yes, it was part of my re­search. But I also watched this doc­u­men­tary called Lust and Sound, about mu­sic in 1980s Berlin and around the time the wall fell down. It’s so good. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing and it helped me so much. Just to cap­ture the feel and vibe of the ’80s. It was my child­hood, and when you’re a child you don’t no­tice much of the era you’re in at first. But that doc­u­men­tary helped me be­cause that’s the world that Del­phine is at­tracted to, aside from be­ing a spy, she em­braces it. You can imag­ine Del­phine do­ing her job in the day and club­bing at night.

Q: You share most of your scenes with Char­l­ize. How was work­ing with her?

A: I was thrilled to work with Char­l­ize, be­cause I re­mem­ber watch­ing Mon­ster and think­ing how this gor­geous, in­tel­li­gent per­son never let her beauty be the rea­son why she’s in this in­dus­try. She’s proven many times that she’s an in­cred­i­ble ac­tress and I look up to strong women that are so good at what they do. She cares, and on some­thing like Mon­ster, she put ev­ery­thing else aside and only her tal­ent came through. Her abil­ity to dive into a role the way she did, I ad­mire that. So when I got to work with her, I was ner­vous. I was hop­ing that my own act­ing skills were go­ing to be able to work along­side her, even though my ex­pe­ri­ence as an ac­tress is fairly new com­pared to hers. It pushed me to study more, to be more pre­pared. She en­cour­aged me and made me feel com­fort­able.

Q: How was it work­ing with di­rec­tor David Leitch?

A: I loved work­ing with him. He's very in­tel­li­gent and I think the way he's put the movie to­gether is phe­nom­e­nal.

Q: What was it like shoot­ing in Bu­dapest?

A: As soon as I landed in Bu­dapest, I felt as though I had gone into a time ma­chine and came out in the 1980s. So, it was per­fect con­text and sur­round­ing to re­ally feel like we were in the movie we were shoot­ing. When I had a few days off, I was a lit­tle iso­lated be­cause I didn’t know that many peo­ple and Char­l­ize was al­ways on set, but that was good be­cause it helped put me in that frame of mind, which I think my char­ac­ter would have been feel­ing as well. It was good for me.

Q: Did you have to train and pre­pare for any fight scenes?

A: Yes be­cause James (McAvoy) and I did ev­ery­thing in the fight scene our­selves. We came the day be­fore and looked at the space, and then learned ev­ery­thing the next morn­ing be­fore shoot­ing it that day. David and his stunt team were wildly pre­pared. They’re so good at what they do, and mak­ing sure ev­ery­thing is safe. And I wasn’t wear­ing many clothes, so there wasn’t much room for pad­ding, ex­cept on the fur­ni­ture. James is so good at do­ing the fight scenes, and such a good ac­tor. I’d love to work with him again. Atomic Blonde is in cin­e­mas now.

PHOTO: JONATHAN PRIME

◗ Char­l­ize Theron and Sofia Boutella play two killers in killer heels in Atomic Blonde, set in Cold War Berlin as the Wall is about to fall.

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