As the only woman on a colonized Mars in “The Settlers,” Sofia Boutella’s Ilsa wields a knife, a gun, her husband and young daughter.
What she can’t handle are the enemies in the nearby hills who are a threat to her existence.
In “A Western in Outer Space” Boutella, 39, describes “Settlers”.
“It is set on a remote homestead on the border of Mars,” she continued, “where a refugee family from Earth is bound by survival and their family values.
“Despite the hostile background they are facing, they hope to continue to exist.”
“Settlers” is shot in the isolated desert area of Violsdrift, in the Northern Cape of South Africa, and that brutal, desolate landscape is reflected in Botella’s stilted Ilsa.
“She probably saw a lot. She was probably confused to begin with as she moved from Earth. What she was facing was probably what she had imagined — but worse.
“But the instinct to survive is stronger than any of these feelings. So she keeps going, because there is no other choice. She is doing her best, one day at a time, with what is in front of her.”
With only her family and a tiny pet pig, Ilsa has no other choice.
“She wants something more for her daughter and wants things to be different. He’s probably overly protective because that’s all he has,” argued Boutella. “After all, she is very concerned about her daughter’s future in that environment.”
Ilsa is often silent and plays guitar and sings but she is undoubtedly a wolf when it comes to protecting her family.
“Yes, he is a murderer because he has to become a killer. He has killed to survive and protect his child. And once again we see that he is facing the same issue.”
Strong, even lethal women play strongly in Boutella’s sweeping roles. From the title role as the living dead in “The Mummy” to the action-packed Berlin-set “Atomic Blonde” with Charlize Theron (both 2017) or as the serial killer with Jodie Foster in “Hotel Artemis” (2018), He is both formidable and beautiful.
Born in Algeria to a creative, cultured family – her brother works in visual effects – Boutella was launched as a dancer at age 16, starring in a well-known series of videos before transitioning into acting was.
“I couldn’t have imagined things differently and I don’t regret any of my decisions. But it was tough.
“When I was 29 and I stopped dancing (to act), I had to start from scratch. 30 o’clock! It was a little crazy but I love it. And I’m excited about the future.”