Acclaimed for his portrayal of Charles Sobhraj in The Serpent, Tahar Rahim also impresses with his physical transformation. The actor looks back on his preparation.
To slip into the shoes of the poisonous Charles Sobhraj in The Serpent on Netflix, Tahar Rahim had to physically transform. A challenge in itself, complicated by an interruption in filming … During our meeting with the actor on March 24, he had confided in this part of his preparation.
Sculpt your body
“The physical preparation was very intense. To my advantage because I did a lot of sport, so good (laughs). I had to work a lot to reach my stature. Precisely. Because there are different ways. to build up muscle. It had to match as much as possible with his body. He has a head posture, a way of standing that is really very straight. While you can be muscular like that too (he imitates a bodybuilder). It’s not Gladiator.
I worked with a coach to whom I explained how I should be cut. This is something that I had to maintain all along. I took a liking to it, it made me feel good. I maintained later. It wasn’t the hardest thing to do. Apart from starting. We all know it. Coming back to sport is always hell (smiling). Suffering…”
Interruption of filming due to Covid
“It was a little more complicated when we had to stop filming. Normally, we had to finish at the end of December 2019. We had some complications with the filming and we passed. Only, I had to go and shoot a film in the meantime: The Mauritanian (Designated guilty, editor’s note) in South Africa where I had to really, really lose weight. Very quickly. What I did.
Then I had to come back to The Serpent. So take back the physical appearance of Charles. What I tried to do at first (he laughs). And we said to ourselves: “What more can happen to us ? “And there you have it, a pandemic … So we had to stop filming. Everyone went home. I had a pretty good time with it because I had been abroad for nine months. So, j was able to rest and spend time with my family.
Then we had to go back and finish the last two weeks of filming. Only, it was less exotic since we found ourselves in England filming France, India and maybe a bit of Thailand, I don’t remember… And that’s where the set designer and the production are still magicians because we absolutely do not realize it. “
Tahar Rahim’s interview on his method of slipping into the shoes of a serial killer: