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Friday, May 20, 2022

Halle Berry Breaks Down Her Career, from 'X-Men' to 'Bruised'

Credit: Vanity Fair
Duration: 18:55s 0 shares 1 views

Halle Berry Breaks Down Her Career, from 'X-Men' to 'Bruised'
Halle Berry Breaks Down Her Career, from 'X-Men' to 'Bruised'

Halle Berry takes us through her iconic career, including her roles in 'Living Dolls,' 'Jungle Fever,' 'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,' 'X-Men,' 'Monster's Ball,' 'Die Another Day,' 'Catwoman,' 'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum' and 'Bruised.'00:00 Intro00:30 'Living Dolls'01:31 'Jungle Fever'03:15 'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge'05:49 'X-Men'07:19 'Monster's Ball'10:12 'Die Another Day'11:17 'Catwoman'13:19 'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum'15:39 'Bruised'BRUISED is available now on Netflix, www.netflix.com/bruised

- The first moment I knew Iwanted to be a coming actorwas when I was in Second City in Chicagoand I was taking class just for fun,to find something to dowith my evening hours.And, one of my teachers there said to me,"Have you ever thought aboutbeing a professional actorand earning a living doing this?"And I said, "No."And he said, "Well, you should."Hi, I'm Halle Berry,and this is the timeline of my career.[gentle music]- Hey, what are you studying?- Chemistry.- Really?I'm taking that too.We're learning about gases.What are you working on?- Bonding properties ofhyperkinetic complex molecules.- We must have skipped that part.[audience laughs]- No, it's not you, I'm takingadvanced science classes.You see, this modeling stuff is great,but, for me, it's just a way to make moneyso I can go to medical school.My first big break was "Living Dolls."I got to play on a television show on ABC,and what was interesting about that wasI was playing a model.And up until that point,that's what I was doing,I was in Chicago modeling.So, I felt like it wasa great place to start.I was essentially playing aversion of myself in many ways.And it was the first timethat I really realizedI could actually earn a living.You know, I didn't have to do,you know, my waitress job anymore.I wasn't bartending anymore.I was now earning a livingand paying my bills through my craft.And that was a big moment in my career.[upbeat music]- I want y'all to meet my new woman, Viv.That's short for Vivian.She's good people.I like her.Mm!- I've always wanted tobe more than just a face.I've always wanted tobe more than this shellthat we walk around in.My first job playing a model,I think that was a good wayto segue into the business,but I knew after thatshow got quickly canceled,I think everybody elsewas sort of upset by it.I was relieved,because I thought I got my feet wet,I got my first job,but now I can go on and do other things.And the next thing Idid was "Jungle Fever"in Spike Lee's movie,where I really got toshed my physical self,that beauty pageant image.He gave me a wonderful opportunityto show that I was a real actor,that I had been workingand had been studying,and I was more than the shellthat I've walked around in.And I've spent my whole careertrying to sort of prove that in many ways.Spike absolutely inspiredme as a director.I remember working withhim for the first timeand I was so impressedbecause he was a youngblack filmmaker, very young,and he was very tenacious.He had the ability tobe completely authenticand tell a story from his point of viewand his point of view wasn't alwaysa popular point of view back then.He was making a way out of no way.There weren't many black filmmakers,men behind the cameras,you know, telling stories,and he was relentless in his pursuitto tell his truth from his point of view.And, when I thought aboutmy directorial debut,I remembered Spike,and I knew how important it was for meto be authentic with my vision,my black woman, female vision.It was very importantthat I infuse the story,with all those thingsthat were important to meand that I knew to be true.♪ I've got rhythm ♪♪ I've got music ♪♪ I got my man ♪♪ Who could ask for anything more ♪My manager at the timecame to me and he said,"If you could tell a storyabout anything, anyone,what would it be?What would inspire you atthis point in your life?"And I said,"To bring to screen thelife of Dorothy Dandridge,one of my heroes.That would be what would inspire meand excite me right now."So he said, "Well, let's do it."And we set out to do just that.And we got Shonda Rhimes to write it.A very young, budding, Shonda Rhimesactually wrote that screenplay."Introducing Dorothy Dandridge"was a huge milestone.I got to bring to screenthe life of a womanwho had been someone that I look toas a young budding actor, you know?And just as a young woman ofcolor, a young black woman,I remember the first timeI saw her on televisionand how moved I was by who she wasand to see myself reflected in that way.So, to bring her life to screen,that was huge for me.And then to be able to produce the storythat meant that I couldbe in control of the storyand how the story would be toldand what part of her life wewould actually talk about.So, and that also feltreally, really powerful.Good evening.I'm Dorothy Dandridge.[melodious piano music]I can't say that afterplaying Dorothy Dandridge,winning an Oscar was a goal.I mean, I think that's a hardgoal to set for yourself.You know, that's such an illusive awardbecause our industry,everything is so subjective.What one thinks is great,another one will think is not.So, having a goal of winningan award, I don't think is,has ever been my goal.But I did have a sense that I was somehowdeeply connected to DorothyDandridge in some way.And when I ended up beingnominated for "Monster's Ball,"I felt like in that moment,"Huh, maybe I'm supposed tosort of finish this circle.Maybe I'm supposed tofinish what she started."I felt a deep connection to her,and to her struggle, and to her story.And, in the back of my mind,once I got the nomination, I thought,"Hmm, I wonder if this is destiny."And I think, ultimately, it proved to be.♪ Anything more ♪Do you know what happens to a toadwhen it's struck by lightning?[thunder rumbles][lightning buzzes]The same thing thathappens to everything else.[lightning crackles]More than anything, I love thefamily that we created therewith Patrick Stewart, andIan, and Famke, and James.We really felt,and Hugh,who's one of the nicest humansI think I've ever met in my whole life.We really formed a bondand we were a littlefamily for about a decade.And, what I have missed,is I've missed seeing them.I've missed, you know,my friends in that way.I loved to dip in and out of, you know,Storm and the character.And I loved her evolution as well.There were moments when we were shooting,when I realized, you know,Storm and Wolverine really had an affair,like that's really in the comic books.And there was a momentwhen Hugh Jackman and Igot to play with that inour last movie together.And, I remember thinking,"Wouldn't this be aninteresting turn of events,if we all of a sudden went into the Stormand Wolverine story?And we really sort of unpackedwhat their connection wasand what their relationship was?"But, I would absolutely return to it.It's a beloved character.I loved playing Stormand people love Storm.So, I would absolutely, you know,if we could find a versionthat would make senseor a storyline that would make sense,I would absolutely do that, for sure.[lightning crackles][air whooshes]I was a good mother.I did every singlething I can think to do.When I first read "Monster's Ball,"it was very much similarto how I felt aboutwhen I read "Bruised."I thought, "I have to do it.I'm gonna die if I don't do this."I saw myself all over it.I intrinsically knewwho that character was,what she was strugglingwith, her brokenness,her fracturedness.I understood the battle.I understood her fight in lifeand, right away, Isaid, "I have to do it."But then people around me said,"Ooh, it's a very low budget movie.""It's very risque.""There's some sexual components to itthat maybe you don't wanna do.""The subject matter,it's got a lot of racialcomponents to it.""I don't know if you wanna touch this."And, those were all thereasons why I loved it.And I thought, "If this ends my career,like many people thought it would,"I thought, "well, I'mgonna end my own careeron my own volition."I'm gonna end my career doingsomething that inspires me.That ignites me, that excites me.And it was a risk and I love taking risks.And I've always known,if you don't risk big,you can't win big.So, I was prepared to take the risk.Wake up, baby!Wake up!He was hit by a car.- It's okay, calm down.- Take him to the hospital!I loved working with Billy.He was, he's such aactors actor, you know?He was a real collaborator.You know, we talked verydeeply about the characterand about the scene,and we had this famous scenethat people still talk to me about today.And we had to really, you know,talk through that sceneand choreograph it in a way, if you will,that felt right for both of us.But he's a phenomenal actor,I had seen him in "Sling Blade,"and I knew when they toldme he was attached to it,that I just knew we wouldhave a huge connection.And we did, we connected on the material.And, he was as fearlessas I was at that time.He was very willing to go farand not worry about how hewould be perceived on film,but just serve as the character, as was I.I couldn't have expectedthat 20 years later,there would be no other womanof color standing next to me.But, what I also know, isthat I've seen women of color,especially black women,I've seen them winning, winning,and winning since that night.I think there was a dooropened within the industryand maybe it didn't garner another award,but the doors openedand I've seen more womenof color in leading rolesproducing, writing, directing now.And so, I know that that moment matteredand I know it incited change.And that part I feel good about,but, sure, do I wish someonewas standing next to me?Absolutely.I was really good.I was really good.- I understand.[dramatic melodious music]- I was really excited about "Bond"because that's a franchise that's iconic.It's a part of film history, really.So, to be a part of that franchisewas very meaningful to me.And, this version of a Bondwoman was very differentthan any bond woman I had seen before.When Barbara Broccolicame to me with the role,she explained that I wouldget to be a different kind,a new kind of Bond girl,which would allow me to be more active,and sort of be, you know,kinda working alongside Bond in a new way,and that really excited me.But also it excited me too to, you know,reimagine that great Ursula Andress scenethat was, you know, so iconic,and re-imagine it in, you know, a new wayand pay homage to who she was,and what this, you know, theseries was really all about.- Magnificent view.- It is, isn't it.Too bad it's lost on everybody else.[air whooshes][dramatic music][cat meows]Uh!I would definitely directthe next "Catwoman."I think I would redeem myself.I, as a filmmaker now,I would totally change the story.I would change the characters.I would have Catwoman saving the worldfrom some catastrophe,like male comic book characters get to do.I wouldn't be just saving womenfrom their faces cracking offfrom some cream.

[giggles]I would make it more substantialand I would set it in agrittier, more modern world.And so, yeah,I would jump at the chanceto redo that my way.Well, I went to theRazzie because, you know,I feel like we all takeourselves so seriously.If we get an award, if we get the Oscar,we somehow are made to feellike we're somehow betterthan everybody else,but we're really not.You know, you were justchosen that year by your peersand you were acknowledged for doingwhat they considered stellar work,but are you better than the next personwho didn't get that award?No, not at all.So, if you find yourselfface-to-face with a Razzie,does that mean you're theworst actor there ever was?Probably not.You just got the pisstaken out on you that yearby a group of people that can.

[chuckles]I never in my life thoughtI would be up here.Winning a Razzie!I decided to just take it alland just not take myself too seriously.And if I can show up to collect an Oscarwhen you're honoring me,I can certainly showup to collect a Razziewhen you say, "Good try, but do better."I always learned that ifyou can't be a good loser,then you don't deserveto be a good winner.So, I went there and made fun of myself.I had a great time,and then I set thatthing on fire.

[chuckles]That's what I did.[clunking sound]- Aren't you supposed to let me win?- Not that kind of girl.[gun fires][John grunts]- Sofia!You can't kill the bearer of your marker.- I didn't kill you,I just shot you.I loved everything about "John Wick,"the world of "John Wick."I was a huge fan of"John Wick," one and two.I loved doing my own stunts.That's always a challenge.I was a gymnast as a child.So, anytime I get to be very physicaland use my body and do my own stunts,I always welcome that challenge.I loved Keanu.I love that he also, in thesemovies, does his own stunts.I think that makes themovie far more engagingand more interesting thanjust normal action movies.I've always marveled at, you know,he and I are about the same age.So, I marveled at whathe could do at that age.And he reminded me thatthis thing called ageis just a number,and I've always felt that way too.I knew that it was gonna be hard workand that the director, Chad Stahelski,was going to challenge me on another levelof challenging myself.And I was really looking for something newand different at that time in my careerto really get me excitedagain about going to work.And I had these two bad-assdogs that were my comradesand I had to work with them,go to dog training school,and go to the range and learn to shoot.All these new things thatI had never done before,I got to do and challenge myself.And that was super exciting.When I started training for "John Wick,"I already knew that "Bruised" was coming.I sort of got the offerto do both of those moviesaround the same time.So, the beauty of that waswhen I was training for "John Wick,"I was also training for"Bruised" at the same time,in a small way.And part of that training wasI was just getting my body used tofive, six hours of training a day.I was changing my diet.I was learning about recovery.And I was really pushingmyself to the limit.And I knew that that'swhat I would have to dofor "Bruised."So it was all sort ofone big period of timewhen I knew that I wasgonna do these two moviesback-to-back that would challenge melike I'd never been challenged before.And, when I trained for "John Wick,"my same training team wenton with me to "Bruised."So we really didn't miss a beat.We sort of went from movie to movie.Nice suit.- Good to see you too.- I should shoot youin the head right now.- Immaculate sent you?- Yeah.- You used to be Jackie Justice, right?- I still am.When I thought about my directorial debut,I never imagined that I would star in it.And I certainly never imaginedthat I would star in itwith this big, huge rolethat required so much ofmy time and attention.Just performing that role andjust directing a fight movie,both of those jobs are largelyenough, you know, to do solo.So to be doing both of them in my debutjust seemed unthinkable to me,and I wouldn't have sought that out.What happened was when Iconvinced the producersto let me play the part,because the part wasoriginally written fora 20-something white Irish Catholic girl,when I convinced themthat it should be me,a black middle-aged woman in a black worldin Newark, New Jersey,when I convinced themthat I should do that,they then said to me, "Okay, great.Now set out and find a filmmakerwho can share your visionand then we'll make the movie."So I set out to find a director,but the problem was thisworld that I had re-imaginedand that I pitched to theproducers didn't really exist yet.It wasn't on paper.So then I finally had togo to the producer and say,my other producers and say,"You know, I know thisis gonna sound crazyand I've tried to find a filmmaker,but I think it has to be me.I think I'm the only onethat really understandsall the facets of this story."And, to my surprise, he said, "Yes."And so, there I was.And then I remember leavingthat meeting, thinking,"Holy shit, now I have toactually do it," you know?And then I was off to the races.Directing and acting in itproved to be stressful at times.But I also realizedthat I had been a workingactor for 30 yearsand I had to trust myself,trust everything I had learned,trust every experience I had ever had.And, I knew as a director thatif I hired the best actors I can hire,if I hired, you know, greatplayers that I could play with,I could trust that, together,we would all find the truthof what all these scenes were.So, often women,our stories have been toldby men through their lens.And I have sat through movie after movie.And I thought, "That's just not how it is.That's just not what'simportant to us," you know?And, so to be a woman,and be behind the camera,and tell it from my perspective,it felt really empowering too.I can't wait to direct againif given the opportunityand I will probably notdirect and star in ever again.I mean, I hate to say, Spike cautioned me.He said, "Never say never."So, I shudder saying never,but, I would like tojust direct next time.I think directing and acting,both of those jobs, are large enough.And, there's many stories inside methat I feel like I wanna tellif given the opportunity,but I'm really wanting to tella love storyor something having todo with science fiction.There could be a way to mix the two.

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