RK: Can you talk about what instructions you were given to realistically portray being under the influence of LSD?
SB: Oh, I essentially did a lot of research online. That’s what I did. And there were drugs that jumped to mind, Flakka and this other one called Crocodile, which are horrible, horrible, horrible drugs. And I had no idea they existed because I started with LSD, and what I was seeing online was not extreme enough. So I just wondered and started speaking with Gaspar, to find that thing that is interesting to follow and observe. He basically agreed and then I went with Flakka, that’s in my interpretation. He liked that. If you look at Flakka online, it’s pretty disturbing. I mean, I wouldn’t encourage you to look at it because I wouldn’t go and look at it if I didn’t have to.
RK: Now you have me curious!
SB: Well good luck, good luck. You can’t hold me responsible, I advise you not to.
RK: Outside of the elaborate dancing obviously, what was the most challenging scene to perform?
SB: For me it was essentially the corridor scene that was the most challenging one because it took the life out of me and because it was very energetically intense and because psychologically it was also very intense. Also we had to rehearse the path, the choreography for that was not set. And so we learned the choreography as we went. And with Nina, cause we were in LA, both of us I think had two months before flying to Paris and we had a bit of time. We never worked together, but we decided to go to a dance studio and see what happened. And we played the music and she had seen my work. So we started with counting, like placing movements on the music on specific counts and then we kept trying that and at some point, she just played the music and I told her I’m just going to go for it.
Then she grabbed the phone, starts filming me, and she was giving me notes as I went that I would listen to. Sometimes I would skip notes and sometimes I would go for the notes. In the end, that’s how, and then she edited it and she’s an amazing editor too. She sent it to Gaspar and he said, “that’s it”. So we did not want to set any specific choreography. We needed to see the space in order to see what we would do with the space. And so what we did that morning as we were rehearsing the camera movement, when initially the camera was only going from the corridor to the back room and coming back to the corridor and going to the kid, we shot I think at that point, four scenes, and every time we would see the take and Nina would give me notes and I would adjust as I went and I would have like time to reset.
On the fourth take Gaspar said, I really want to film you through the bathroom window through the bathroom mirror. So we had rehearsed again for another half an hour that pass. So it’s going from the corridor to the backroom, back to the corridor, to the bathroom and then to the kid. But after. I was like, what’s going to take me to the bathroom? I need a reason. So I think on the fifth take I started looking at my hand because I had been rolling on the floor and been high. I thought I need to wash my hand, and Gaspar said, “no, don’t do that because this other character Lea is seeing blood on her hand and she’s washing it off in the bathroom.” We hadn’t shot that scene at that moment and I said “okay, what else”? And so I knew I wanted a rest within in that frantic moment and that’s why I have that moment on the couch where I’m looking around me at the space and I decide to tuck myself into my tights, wanting to feel, refrained and comfortable, and then losing myself forgetting that my hands are there and then eventually wanting to get up and seeing my hands underneath the tights. It made me feel like I had my hands stuck in my legs and that was a nightmarish idea for me. I said “I think that works” and Gaspar liked it.
So we did that for two takes and I think on the last one, the seventh take Gaspar told me, okay, we can do whatever you want now. And so, same thing I think on the sixth take, I look at myself in the mirror and didn’t have a reaction, like, no, I can not look at myself like, like it’s normal. I have to look at myself like I’m seeing the worst monster on the planet and like I don’t recognize my reflection and he said, do whatever you want. So I did the scare and that’s when I decided to put my head under the water, because we didn’t have any time to reset for the hair and dry them and reset the makeup. So the take that you see in the movie is the very last take.
RK: Real quickly, did you have any involvement with Star Trek 4 or do you still have any involvement with it?
SB: Oh, I have no idea. You probably will find out before me!
RK: Well, it was very lovely meeting you and thanks again, I loved the movie.
SB: Oh, thank you so much. Thank you.
Many thanks to Sofia Boutella for taking the time for this interview.
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, check out my personal non-Flickering Myth affiliated Patreon, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com