'The Sweetest Berry on the Vine'
At the young age of four, Halle Berry's father walked out on her mother. Judith, Halle's mother, was left to raise Halle and her sister, Heidi, all alone. They lived in the inner city in Ohio. Halle's mother, however, worked hard and managed to move the family into the suburbs of Cleveland.
Her highschool boyfriend entered her into the Miss Ohio Teen beauty pageant and Halle ended the night wearing the winners crown. From there, it was like a whirlwind. She won, Miss Teen All American, Miss USA, and Miss World. Not one to be easily sidetracked, she continued her education at Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College studying broadcast journalism.
She moved to Chicago and studied acting and modeling. After Chicago, she moved to Manhattan and landed her first T.V. acting position in 'Living Dolls.' The show was a flop and soon cancelled, but Halle was not discouraged and in 1989, Spike Lee came calling with a truly un-glamorous position (a crack addict) in the movie 'Jungle Fever.'
From then on in the roles have been piling up in such movies as 'The Last Boy Scout,' 'Boomerang,' 'The Flintstones,' 'X-Men,' her Golden Glode Award for 'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and - of course - her Academy Award for her role in the extreme 'Monster's Ball.'
With the DVD release of 'Monster's Ball' already on the shelf, we chatted to the lady herself about the film and about her up-coming James Bond flick, 'Die Another Day.'
Your performance in 'Monster's Ball' is emotionally very naked. Was it easy to let everything hang out the way you did ?
"Well, it was that kind of movie. It was about really servicing those characters and making them as flawed and as complicated as a human being is. Marc's request of us as actors was to be real in the moment, not be afraid of the material, and not to worry about doing the politically correct thing."
The sex scene between you and Billy Bob Thornton is very graphic. Can you comment on it ?
"I like to call that scene the kiss of life, because from that moment on the choices that these characters made indelibly affected their life and made them able to have a better one. The scene wasn't about sexual titillation in any way."
Nonetheless, how did you feel when you first watched yourself and Billy Bob grappling naked ?
"Honestly, I had an out-of-body experience. I thought, 'Wow, look at her!' I never really connected it with myself, and I think that's how I am able to look at it. The character was so far removed from who I really. It's the first time in any movie-making experience of mine that I was able to watch a film and not be able to really see me."
How do you feel about doing the new Bond film, 'Die Another Day' after such an intense movie like this ?
"It's great that I can go from a movie like 'Monster's Ball', which is so reality based, and then go do a movie like James Bond which is so fantasy based. For me, I think, that's the joy of being an artist."
Interviewed By Stevie Baumapple
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