Universal Pictures is about to terrify audiences with the first installment of their revamped Dark Universe, The Mummy, and as early teasers and trailers have proven, Sofia Boutella as the mummy is chilling. In the film, Ms. Boutella plays Ahmanet, an ancient evil loosed upon the world by an accident in which Tom Cruise becomes inexplicably connected to the monster/demigod. While Ahmanet is already the center of attention, when it comes to discussing the more chilling aspects of The Mummy, Sofia reveals that she’s just as unnerved by her character as anyone.
Sofia Boutella Reveals What Scared Her About Playing Ahmanet in The Mummy
In the new revamped version of The Mummy, USA Today shares that Sofia Boutella plays Ahmanet, an Egyptian (would-be) queen who was buried alive for killing her family after being denied the throne. Although her father had promised to make Ahmanet the queen, the birth of a son to her father negated that promise and enraged Ahmanet. As a punishment for her crimes, Ahmanet was wrapped and mummified before being encased in her sarcophagus.
For Sofia, telling that backstory came with its own set of terrors, particularly when she had to shoot the scenes involving her entombment. In the scene, Boutella’s eyes can be seen through a narrow slit between the bandages, which cover her from head to toe. The terrified look in those eyes is genuine, reveals the Mummy star.
“There was a lot of fear, I didn’t need much acting to look frightened,” recalled Boutella. “It was weird, I felt really dispowered. I don’t know if that word exists, did I just make that up?”
In spite of that, Boutella says playing the mummy was a thrill for a number of reasons. She has always been a big fan of the classic Universal monster movies and especially loved previous versions of The Mummy, so she comes to the film as a fan. There’s also the fact that the rebooted version of The Mummy tackles some social issues by making Ahmanet a female villain.
“I love that they gave this to a woman,” Boutella said. “Ahmanet is the definition of a feminist: strong, powerful and opinionated.”
Sofia Boutella Says Ahmanet Is More Than A Monster
Speaking with the Independent, Sofia Boutella discusses her love for monster movies and what drives her in taking on the villain in The Mummy. While she loves the thrills and chills of the story, she’s quick to point out that each monster carries with it a double meaning, a metaphor that speaks to the social issues of the times.
For the most part, Boutella thinks fans should find their own meanings in those metaphors, so she’s hesitant to share her thoughts. Yet, in respect to The Mummy, Sofia does share her thoughts on what motivates Ahmanet’s actions.
“I think it could be that, once you’ve been heartbroken and hurt, in that matter, it’s hard to come back,” said the Mummy actress. “There’s a monster that starts to come to life inside of you, and you can decide to act on it, or not act on it.”
Although Ahmanet is a completely fictional character created for The Mummy, Sofia takes a look at the context of the times in which she lived, trying to understand how one woman’s pain and anger can transform her into a god-like being. In the early Egyptian times, Boutella comments that one’s word was taken at face value, meaning people rarely, if ever, spoke figuratively. Combined with a desire to ascend to godhood, Boutella says she can understand how words were much more powerful in that earlier age.
That’s something Ms. Boutella tried to encompass in her portrayal of Ahmanet, but she adds that it was also important to make her character in The Mummy look the part. Sofia tried to translate that sense of power and authority into her physical performances.
“I wanted to find her size,” says the Mummy star. “Because, even though she never became Pharaoh, she very much carries herself like one. And thinks she’s a queen. Which she is, you know? She has that sort of power and strength, so I wanted to find that kind of size and that kind of physicality.”
The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, and Annabelle Wallis, opens in theaters on June 9.
[Featured Image by Universal Pictures]