Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry knows a lot about perseverance in Hollywood. As a beautiful woman of color, she had to fight for roles that didn’t always focus on her natural beauty, but she did it.
Worldwide distribution rights to Berry’s directorial debut, “Bruised,” an MMA drama that screened as a work-in-progress at the Toronto Film Festival, were sold for close to $20 million to Netflix.
In “Bruised,” Berry plays a washed-up MMA fighter, Jackie “Justice,” who has to defeat her own inner demons and face one of the most intense rising stars of the MMA world to make her young son, Manny, proud.
The 50-minute TIFF Q&A, moderated by Toronto media personality Amanda Parris, included clips from Spike Lee’s classic “Jungle Fever,” Berry’s breakout role; 2001’s “Monster’s Ball,” for which Berry became the first and still only Black woman to win the Best Actress Academy Award; and her latest film, which premiered Sept. 12 at TIFF as “a work in progress.”
In the beginning, she was Maria Halle Berry. Born on Aug. 14, 1966, she began as a model and entered several beauty contests, finishing as the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant and coming in sixth in the Miss World 1986. She burst into the scene in the romantic comedy “Boomerang” (1992), alongside Eddie Murphy. Her other credits include “The Flintstones” (1994), “Bulworth” (1998), and the television feature “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” (1999), for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Her other credits include “X-Men” (2000) and its sequels “X2” (2003) and “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006); Bond girl Jinx in “Die Another Day” (2002); “Gothika” (2003); “Cloud Atlas” (2012); “The Call” (2013); “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014); “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017); and “John Wick: Chapter 3, Parabellum” (2019), to name a few. She was formerly married to baseball player David Justice, singer-songwriter Eric Benét and actor Olivier Martinez. She has a child each with Martinez and model Gabriel Aubry.
Here is what Oscar and Emmy-award winning actress, and now director, Halle Berry had to say about directing “Bruised.”
On the Netflix deal announcement:
[The Netflix agreement] is a real thrill. The movie is still not a finished product, and that’s why I can’t stress enough the importance of film festivals, especially this Toronto festival.
On experiencing two broken ribs:
I didn’t want to stop because I had prepared for so long. We had rehearsed; we were ready. So my mind, my director’s mind, was just keep going. And I compartmentalized that, and I just kept going: ‘I’m not going to stop. I’ve come too far. I’m going to act as if this isn’t hurting. I’m going to will myself through it.’ And so we did.
On winning the Oscar for “Monster’s Ball”:
Every time when Oscar time comes round, I get reflective and I think maybe this year, maybe this year, and it’s heartbreaking that other women haven’t stood there.
On why she directed the film:
I’d been thinking about directing, but I thought this was too big of a role, and star in this big role, but I was encouraged by a friend. Once I embraced that concept, I had to go to the producers and pitch myself as the director. And to my surprise, they said yes.
On the importance of film festivals:
I can’t stress enough the importance of festivals, and especially this festival [TIFF].
To learn more, go to https://www.instagram.com/halleberry/?hl=en — TIFF (@TIFF_NET) · Twitter — #bruisedthemovie on Twitter