Oscar winner Halle Berry made her directorial debut in “Bruised,” a Netflix film that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. The sports drama quickly became the streamer’s #1 film in its first week of release and Berry, who also stars in and produces the picture, is thrilled by the success. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better result,” she says. “We make movies for people. We want people to see them. Being on a platform that allowed my film to go around the world in one moment allowed that to happen.” Watch the exclusive video interview with Berry above.
In “Bruised” Berry plays Jackie Justice, a mixed martial arts fighter who begins training for her return to the ring four years after a humiliating defeat. She is simultaneously faced with the return of her six-year old son, who she has been estranged from since his birth. “I love the fight genre,” Berry reveals while discussing her passion for this project. “I love these movies where the underdog has to fight their way back. People are searching for redemption. That’s very relatable. I can always find a way to see myself reflected. As an actor, I just love playing dark, deep, complicated characters that are full of layers and flaws.”
While the character excited Berry, preparing for the role was anything but easy. “I broke two toes, dislocated a finger and then broke two ribs,” she admits. “In the training I was just beginning so things broke left and right. The two ribs I broke was day two [of shooting] and Valentina [Shevchenko] is the current flyweight UFC champion and she got me good!”
Berry admits that while this became her directorial debut, that wasn’t always the plan. “I didn’t know this is what I wanted to do,” she admits. “I didn’t really set out to direct this. I wanted to be the actor to play this amazing character that I love so much within a sport that I loved so much. I only ended up directing it because I couldn’t really find someone that shared the vision that I had because I had to reimagine the story. It wasn’t written for someone like me. It was written for a very young, white, Irish-Catholic girl. So I had to reimagine it. I ended up directing it because I couldn’t find anyone that saw it the way I saw it.”
Later in the interview Berry reflects on her historic Best Actress win for “Monster’s Ball,” which happened nearly 20 years ago at the 74th Academy Awards. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years,” she says. “Yes, it’s heartbreaking that 20 years have gone by and I guess we all thought that moment meant that there would be other Black women of color standing beside me. I just keep telling my peers… things have changed. Look how much you guys are working. When I started 30 years ago or even 20 years ago there weren’t many people of color around me working like they’re working today. So I know that moment meant something. It changed something.”
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