Sofia Boutella, star of 2017’s The Mummy, has shown how versatile she is on film over the course of her career. She began as a dancer, but always kept her attention and focus on acting. Her experience would come in handy for her role in StreetDance 2 and from there she would star in Monsters: Dark Continent and land her breakout role as the blade-legged amputee Gazelle in Kingsman: The Secret Service. She is set to star as the alien Jaylah in Star Trek: Beyond this summer which will, undoubtedly, be another physical performance as already evidenced in the trailer. Last night, Steven and I attended the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City to see the premiere of Tiger Raid which starred Boutella alongside Brian Gleeson and Damien Molony.
Boutella starred as Shadha, a Middle-Eastern woman who is an ex-girlfriend of Paddy (Damien Molony). She does not say much during the film, but her performance was still powerful nonetheless. Shadha must endure the verbal and physical abuse of Joe (Brian Gleeson) when he takes her as a hostage and she tells the story of how Paddy would regularly beat her when they were together but she was afraid to take action, specifically saying how she was “to afraid to feel helpless and afraid.” Despite Paddy’s declaration of his love for her after their years apart and wanting to save her, she says nothing to him. By the conclusion of the taut 92 minute film by Simon Dixon, Boutella’s character of Shadha is as demanding to watch in just the same intense ways of Brian Gleeson and Damien Molony’s performances.
As you watch Tiger Raid, you could feel the tension and emotion between the characters building up to something climactic. I can’t imagine how hard of a role that was to play considering what Shadha had to go through and witness. Interestingly, Simon Dixon shot the film chronologically in order to capture tentpole moments. And believe me, Shadha is a tentpole character! I felt for her and Boutella sold every bit of emotion in as raw and real a way as possible. Sofia Boutella’s raw talent shows in this film and is proof she is the next big actress in Hollywood.
As Gazelle in 2015’s Kingsmen: The Secret Service, Boutella displayed her athletic prowess as she kicked, jumped and moved around on her blade legs. She did not talk much in this role either, but she made her presence known. Wherever Gazelle went, a trail of bullets, blood and body parts followed.
I cannot wait to see Sofia Boutella in The Mummy as the title character. There are no specific details at this time about her role, but I do envision her using beauty and magic to enchant her victims. Then again, she may not even be an evil mummy to begin with! Maybe we’ll have two mummies! Whether a good mummy or bad, I know she will shine in the role and the movie itself, just as she will shine in Star Trek: Beyond as with the many roles in the future her career will be filled with.
(Joe Grodensky – @JoeGrodensky)