Zineb Oukach has only made a handful of movies but she’s already worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. The Moroccan actress and model was first seen in 2007’s Gavin Hood vehicle Rendition, and she can now add Martin Scorcese to her CV after working with the director on his latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street. We had an opportunity to chat with the up and comer on her career thus far and her aims for the future. Additionally, she tells us a little bit about her next project – entitled I am Morocco – which she is set to produce and star.
You’ve made five movies and already you’ve worked with Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, and now Martin Scorcese. What’s your secret?!
I am dedicated to my craft. As an actress, I’m constantly focusing on my work, doing the research and learning as much as possible. Even when I’m not working on a specific project, I’m always in acting classes trying to better my craft.
Talk us through that phone call offering you the part in The Wolf of Wall Street. It must have been an easy decision…
Funny Story!! I was actually at a Spa when the news broke. I was there for the majority of the day and when I finished which was around 9pm, I turned on my phone to see I had a ton of missed calls, voicemails, and emails from my manager. I got nervous and thought something was wrong so I called her back immediately. When I called, she said “I have great news.” I was actually up for another role at the time, and thought I got that project instead. So when my manager said I booked the role in Wolf, I was in shock. I called my mom who lives in Morocco at 3am in the morning, as I couldn’t contain my excitement. Given the opportunity to work with Martin Scorcese, is truly an opportunity of a lifetime, and something you can’t turn down.
What’s Martin like to work with?
Working with Marty was probably the highlight of my year (in 2013). He gives you freedom to create which is a blessing for any artist. Not to mention, in between takes he is so funny and sweet, which made my overall experience absolutely wonderful.
Your character has been described as the symbol for the lifestyles of rich and famous. Now that you yourself are rising in stature and wealth, what’s something you like to indulge in that you couldn’t before? Alternatively, what’s something you still like to do regardless of where you find yourself now?
I would say it’s more of an ability, than a tangible thing. The ability to express myself through my craft is honestly the biggest indulgence. All of these wonderful opportunities have taught me so much, but have also given me the time and space to truly express myself, and I am so grateful. I am now able to work on my own projects, and explore new opportunities which is a luxury in my opinion.
What sort of research did you do for the role?
I watched the show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and actually met with the original hosts of Jordan Belfort’s yacht, to help me prepare for my role. Also listening to Marty and his thoughts on my character really helped. On set, I just went with my instinct encompassing everything I learned in my research, and was able truly embody my character.
You’ve spoken before of your love for action movies such as Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon. Are there any current action franchises that you’d love to join?
I’d actually love to see I am Morocco become a franchise. If people respond to it well, we would like to take it to the next level where it turns into something like the Bourne film series but with a female lead.
What can we expect from I am Morocco?
I am Morocco has something for everyone. It’s a fun ride that girls will resonate with and guys will enjoy.
The Wolf of Wall Street is out in UK cinemas now. You can read our review here.