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Halle Berry on relating to character in ‘Bruised’: ‘I’ve had to fight for everything I’ve achieved’

EXCLUSIVE: The superstar actress is dishing on her directorial debut and setting the example for Black women in ‘Bruised’

Halle Berry is adding to her resume with her latest film, Bruised.

The Oscar winner not only stars as Jackie Justice in the Netflix project, but she also directs the film, which follows the former MMA fighter as she works to redeem herself inside and outside of the cage after reuniting with her young son, Manny.

Berry, 55, told theGrio exclusively that she understands her character’s fight for her value — having experienced similar challenges in her own life and career — and hopes Justice’s journey can serve as an example for Black women.

“I hope we see ourselves reflected in her story,” the actress explained. “Because it’s true, [Black women] have to fight really hard — at least I have for everything I’ve achieved in life. Nothing has ever been given to me. I also want them to know that, you know, we’re all fractured and we’re all broken. We come from families of origin that are not perfect, but it doesn’t matter if that’s your beginning.”

Halle Berry attends the 2021 AFI Fest Official Screening of Netflix’s “Bruised” at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 13, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for Netflix)

“We all can find redemption, we can find forgiveness, we can achieve whatever we set out to achieve, that all things are possible — that’s what the message of the story is. I love films like that, that inspire me, and that somehow I can find meaning in my own life through watching the art or seeing a film.”

Berry decided to direct Bruised after speaking with several filmmakers who she said “didn’t see the story the way I saw it in my head.” Feeling frustrated, Berry spoke with a friend, film producer Elaine Goldsmith Thomas, who encouraged her to direct the film herself. After spending some time thinking it over, Berry said, “I realized it was only myself telling me that I couldn’t.

Ultimately, she decided, “I’m going to direct this movie.”

The experience of directing and starring in such a high-powered, physical film taught Berry that she was “way stronger than I ever knew I was.”

“It’s one thing to say I’m strong,” the director shared. “You know, I’m a survivor, but it’s actually another thing to actually be that. From breaking ribs and continuing to work, to raising money, losing money, to putting this whole story together and sort of carrying it on my back for three years and training — I realized I’m a lot stronger than I ever really knew.”

(Credit: Netflix Media Center)

Berry enlisted the help of actors Shamier Anderson, Valentina Shevchenko and Sheila Atim, who plays trainer Bobbi Buddhakan, to bring Bruised to the big screen. Atim told theGrio that working with Berry, both as an actress and a director, was “so easy” because she provided “a lot of space and freedom” on set.

“Having spoken to Halle on the phone before I was officially offered the role, it was clear that she was going to be a very collaborative actor and director,” the 30-year-old British actress dished. “[She was] somebody who really wanted to hear my thoughts. Her vision for the project and the reasons why she was doing the project fell very much in line with the sort of things that I would want to be talking about as well.”

“I never felt like I was losing out on one side or the other. I never felt like when she was actor Halle that I was missing a director and vice versa. She was very present in both roles, which is really difficult to do because they’re both really demanding. It also requires you to be able to put your ego aside to be able to make sure that you are, as a director, serving the project for everyone, and serving the vision rather than just serving yourself as the actor. And she did that so well.”

Bruised is now available to watch in select theaters and will stream on Netflix on Nov. 24. Fans can watch theGrio‘s full interview with Berry above.

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The post Halle Berry on relating to character in ‘Bruised’: ‘I’ve had to fight for everything I’ve achieved’ appeared first on TheGrio.

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