THE TWILIGHT ZONE
From Alger to Paris, we shared an intimate moment with Lupin’s star Shirine Boutella. From her journey as an immigrant to her struggles as an actress, Shirine tells us all.
Interview : Kelly Lauriente
Photographer: Axle jozeph
MUA: Yazid Malek
Stylist: Réda Ramdani
Hairstylist: Jimmy Glt
Model: Shirine Boutela
KL: You grew up in Alger and came to France to pursue your career as an actress. How did you experience this transition?
S: As everything was in French at school, it was quite everybody’s dream to go and live in France. I dreamed of it as the country where impossible is nothing. It wasn't always easy, since my parents struggled to finance my travel. It was also their dream to offer me more perspectives. But I wasn’t alone, I found family and a lot of friends there. This transition went quite smoothly in the end. Above everything else, it was great to live the life you used to watch on TV.
KL: How do you prepare for a role?
S: I’m still learning. I build my experience mainly by meeting different directors, with different expectations. On Lupin, I was able to collaborate with 4 directors. It means 4 different ways to work. Louis Letellier, for instance, is rather focused on movements. Sometimes, the same action has to be repeated up to 20 times for it to be exactly the rendering he wants. What I often do is imagining my character's past. This will help me better understand its reactions. The interaction with my stage partner can also change everything. It is often said of good actors that they are « generous ». So it really is a collaborative work between me, the other actors and the directors. Someone once told me “I used to play with your eyes, now I play through them”, it resonated a lot with me.
Suit: Vanessa Bruno
Belt: Claudie Pierlot
Bra: Livy Studio
KL: You are playing Lieutenant Sofia Belkacem in the successful Netflix series Lupin. What is the most complex aspect of her personality in your opinion?
S: I wouldn't really talk about complexity. What surprises me, however, is that femininity that she did not sacrifice in her very masculine environment. I imagine her to be brave and assertive, except in catacombs (laughs). In this scene, the discomfort you can feel when I'm close to those skulls is real. I was sure it would end up cut off.
KL: How much do you recognize yourself in Sofia?
S: In many things ! Because of this try-hard and straight-A student attitude. She always does the most for her job. But I trust people a bit more. I leave them more room to express themselves. Sofia was quite harsh with Guedira. I would have been smarter too, but Assane had to escape from us I guess.
KL: Tell us about your best memories during the shooting.
S: I’m thinking of the Châtelet Theatre. It was already very impressive to be in such a place, but this time, Mathieu Lamboley’s orchestra was rehearsing. When I think about it, it's one of the few times we've all been together. We had a great time, full of crazy laughters. Omar even made a song which went like "On the rooftops of Châtelet, and the cops, they are clueless !"
KL: It is often heard that certain roles rubb off on the personality of the actor. Have you ever experienced this phenomenon ?
S: Not yet. I mostly had to play characters who were close to my own personality. In Papicha, I interpret Wassila who is very lively. She’s just like me when I was 20 : naive and joyful. So far, my characters look more like me than the other way around. But I look forward to playing a role that is opposite to my personality. It’s also the beauty of this profession, being a chameleon and living many lives.
KL: What is the most complicated aspect of acting?
S: I will soon appear in the Netflix’ Christmas Flow series. I play a main female character and it requires a lot of emotional involvement. I didn't realize it was that heavy to carry. You are quickly overwhelmed by your emotions and those of others. It's a good sign because it means you live things in depth and the result will be intense. But we share such strong feelings that the hardest thing is to go back to reality. At the end of the shooting, I spent 3 days crying. It's very hard to accept that the role is over and that you won't see your colleagues every day. Maybe it's this role that rubs off on me finally. It has greatly influenced my perception of society and my relationship with others. You will discover why.
Bra: Livy Studio
KL: What is the most important thing for you when you participate in a casting?
S: To let it go. It is important to know that casting is often the hardest thing to do. Because we start from scratch. The 3 castings that followed Papicha were horrible. I was so stressed that I couldn’t even say a line ! I questioned my legitimacy as an actress : “How are you an actress if you can’t even do that ?”, I thought. I had to have a coach, Simon. He helped me to realize that not landing a role doesn't mean that you're bad, but that you don't match it. In the end, you have to have fun and be comfortable, it requires some self-confidence.
KL: Do you have any personal projects besides your career as an actress?
S: As I originally started as a beauty influencer, I am at a point in my life where I am questioning myself a lot. I'm very poorly organized, so I tend to be a little scatterbrained, but I want to get more into it.
KL: I have a magic wand with me, but I shall only grant you one wish. What will it be ?
S: I like to live in the moment. I just want things to keep flowing as positively as they are doing right now. And stay healthy (laughs).