Halle Berry, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Monster’s Ball, becoming the first Black woman to be honored in that category, will make her directorial debut with Bruised, which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival this week.
In the film, Berry plays Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter trying to make a comeback and reconnect with her 6-year-old son. During filming, the actress cracked two ribs, something she had already experienced on John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.
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Despite being in pain, Berry persevered since she realized it was rare for a Black woman to have a chance at directing. In the end, her effort paid off and she managed to complete the film. “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,” she told Variety.
What an immense pleasure to speak with @variety on my directorial debut – getting my most beautiful friend @cliffwatts to photograph was the cherry on top. ✨ link in bio to read more. Writer: @raminsetoodeh Photo: @cliffwatts Stylist: @maryammalakpour Hair: @saratess MUA: @makeupbyjmonroy
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The actress, who has diabetes, has been especially wary of any unnecessary social contact during the coronavirus pandemic. Although she’s currently representing herself in her divorce from Olivier Martinez, Berry is focused on the future, especially since she feels optimistic that the tide is beginning to turn for women in Hollywood.
In 1991, the actress made her feature film debut in Jungle Fever, in which she played a crack addict, a role she had to lobby director Spike Lee for. Her critically-acclaimed performance led to numerous other parts in films like Boomerang, Losing Isaiah, BAPS and Bulworth. In 1999, she won an Emmy for her starring role in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Soon after, she signed on to the X-Men series in which she played Storm.
Berry, who took up jujitsu, judo, taekwondo and kickboxing to perform her own stunts in John Wick, says she was instantly attracted to the script for Bruised, yet initially, the project was intended for director Nick Cassavetes with Blake Lively in the lead role. Six months later, the script became available and Berry seized the opportunity to both direct and star in the film.
Bruised will premiere on September 12 in Toronto.
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