Sofia Boutella Talks “Star Trek Beyond” in Latest Empire Magazine

The Jaylah actress discusses being cast in Star Trek Beyond, her career thus far, and transforming into the franchise’s newest lifeform.

Expletives have been something added to further the humor of Star Trek films since Captain Kirk’s “double dumb-ass on you” in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Brent Spiner’s Data took it one step further in Star Trek: Generations and of course the JJ screenwriters have embraced the concept of colorful metaphors to an entirely new level. But Sofia Boutella’s “holy shit” moment came when she was actually cast as Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond, according to a new article in the August edition of Empire Magazine.

“It wasn’t until the callback that they told me it was Star Trek, and what character I was playing. Then they took me to the make-up trailer and said, ‘This is what you’re going to look like.’ And I was like, ‘Holy shit.’”

A dancer since the age of five, Boutella has revealed herself to movie audiences in two defining pop culture roles recently, first as the assassin Gazelle in Matthew Vaughn’s The Kingsman and of course this summer as Jaylah. Establishing a new character in a fifty-year franchise that has seen its fair share of amazing new life portrayed by talented actors is nothing to sneeze at, however Star Trek Beyond Director Justin Lin explained the potential rewards of Jaylah, as well as casting the actress in the role.

“I knew if we did it right,” Lin told Empire, “it would be great to have a new character who could potentially join the family.

“I knew as soon as I saw her,” he said. “Usually when you’re writing you try to find someone to fit [what you’ve written], but I started crafting the character to Sofia’s strengths. I wanted someone who when you meet them has this strength, but you realise it might be a mask.”

More fascinating nuggets from the article include Boutella’s dancing background, staying away from the temptation of easy money, as well as her familiarity with Star Trek and packing for her audition. She has been cast in the latest Mummy remake, as the Mummy, starring alongside Tom Cruise. With the potential of Jaylah appearing in future Star Trek films according to Lin, it appears Sofia Boutella will be sticking around for a bit, much the benefit of filmgoers and Star Trek fans.

“To be honest, I’m not very familiar [with Star Trek]. I saw the two films of the new franchise but I didn’t grow up watching it. It’s the same with Star Wars; it just wasn’t a part of me growing up. I wasn’t geeking on it to be honest.”

Read the full interview at Empire.

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Good article.
Glad that she had so much fun making the film.

She did great! I’ll forgive her not knowing more about Trek. It would be fun to have her back next time.

Agreed. Jaylah’s a good character. I hope they find a way to do the makeup so Boutella doesn’t have to spend over three hours in the make-up chair. Jeez!

I thought Jaylah was an incredibly good character and I’d love to see her in the next movie, in uniform.

I, as many others, think that the character of Jaylah was actually one of the high points of the movie. The problem is that it might be really hard to have her “join the family” since the character worked mainly in the context of that movie. Just like you can’t have a sequel to “The Fifth Element” (I’m only saying that because Leloo was sorta the first character that came to my mind when Boutella’s Jaylah made her entrance), you can’t have a proper character arc for Jaylah unless the movie is centered on that character.
So, who knows, maybe she’ll take Chekov’s spot but I doubt they use her anything more than a “stand-in”.

Also: It was a great move to NOT have Jaylah be Kirk’s “love interest of the week” – if they had stuck to the formula that Abrams’ movies had set up, she might as well have ended up as this. But no, they wrote Kirk as a mature and likeable character and that’s great.

Well she went off to join Starfleet so she could either be assigned to the Enterprise as an enlisted member or ensign. Or she could pop up in a smaller role as someone they call when they need help and she helps them out from earth. If they do a cameo it could be beginning or ending when they are on earth.

I like the sort of father/daughter vibe between Scotty and her.

Jaylah was lovely. She was tough and scrappy but also very endearing. I’d like to see her join the crew one day…once she’s gotten used to the uniforms.

More of Jaylah in future movies – I would be fine with that!

The question for me is whether Jaylah is special enough to warrant becoming part of the crew. With an ensemble that is already so large, they have to be very careful who they add to the list. I think Saavik was a worthy addition, but she’s really the only character to actually join the crew. There have been several opportunities to add characters to the list and I think they’ve been rightly resisted.

For my part, I think Jaylah is a great character and could add a new dimension to the stories. I’m concerned with her being sent off to the Academy, though. In-Universe, that experience should soften her edge and get rid of a lot of the conflict and fish-out-of-water elements that make her character appealing. I’d love to see a story where she and Kirk end up with a parallel relationship to what Pike and Kirk had, with some situation where Jaylah is thrown into leadership before her time and has to rise to the occasion.

If nothing else, I think we could use more women in the core team — so yeah, add Jaylah and bring back Carol Marcus — and give them significant roles to play in the future movies.

I would think that a character like Ensign Ro proved that interesting character could fit in well with an established crew. To the point where it was Ro that was envisioned as being Sisko’s FO…not Kira.

I enjoyed her character and how she interacted with the crew etc. I also appreciate when an actor can say they were not necessarily a fan. These FiiOTAs (fans in interviews only to appease) kind of bum me out…lol

Hello everyone,

I have a question for English-speaking people here. How does Scotty call Jaylah during the time they spend together? Because, in french, he calls her “fillette” (little girl?) and that reinforce the father/daughter vibe in their relation TUP is talking about and I love it. I can easily imagine Jaylah becoming Scotty’s “second daughter” (because we all know who his favorite daughter is!!).That would be so adorable, particularly after what happened to Jaylah’s parents.
Thank you for your responses.

In English he was calling her “lassie”…just like James Doohan would to a lovely young lady in TOS.

If the Jaylah character does return, I would like to see her as the scrapper of the group that Kirk has to rein in from time to time (a reversal of roles in an ironic sort of way).

I liked her and I wish she interacted with Uhura a bit (to have more female interaction, for a change. Not because I care about the bechdel test – which I honestly consider a stupid and limited way to judge how a movie is with female characters). What an incredible coincidence that most of Jaylah’s screentime is with the character played by one of the writers…

A great addition to the new Star Trek movies, extremely entertaining and original story. It’s great to see everyone back in action and Jaylah really brought a fun presence to the film. Being a person who wasn’t a fan of Star Trek before these movies, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Loved her, best part of the movie. Great writing and they must bring her back- she kicks ass and a lot of fun

How about the new big three Scotty, Keenser and Jaylah – they make a great team