Most people run for the hills when French provocateur Gaspar Noé comes calling, but French-Algerian dancer, model and actress Sofia Boutella welcomed his advances. “I have a lot of respect for Gaspar,” she said when she stopped by the Deadline studio. “He’s a true artist—he has a vision and he goes for it.”

Boutella revealed that Noé didn’t go through the usual channels to cast her in his freeform Midnight Madness entry, in which a group of street-dancers accidentally take psychedelic drugs and freak out. “He messaged me on Instagram,” she recalled. “I met up with him in Paris and he told me what he wanted to do, which was [a film] about dancers that had been spiked with LSD—seeing what happens. That’s all I had, just a five-page treatment. I knew I was playing the choreographer, but I wasn’t sure where I was going character-wise. I knew only the beginning of the film, which is when we’re all celebrating some sort of success, because we’re about to go on the road and we’ve made this beautiful choreography.”

Boutella described his process as “very unusual”. “Everyday we came to set and I had no idea what we were going to film. We rehearsed about four to five hours every day, doing eight- to 10-minute scenes, and then we shot about 14 to 17 takes after rehearsals. It was quite an interesting process—I remember seeing it for the first time in Cannes not knowing at all what I was going to find.”

For more from our conversation, click above.

Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 presented by eOne. Special thanks to sponsor Watford Group, and partners Calii LoveLove Child Social, and Barocco Coffee.