After a decades-long career in front of the camera, Halle Berry was ready to take a step back and meet the challenge of directing her first feature length film. At 54 years old, the Oscar winner is putting on her gloves for one of the biggest fights of her life in the upcoming Netflix original film Bruised, which features the actress as a mixed martial arts fighter on a road to redemption and renewal after everyone has given up on her. It’s clear this very narrative struck a chord with Berry, who has found herself fighting throughout each decade of her career.
Following her historic 2002 Oscar win for Monster’s Ball, Berry found the lack of opportunities and job offers that came her way “surprising. Because I thought they were going to just back up the truck and drop them off at my house, right? When you have a historic win like that, you think, ‘Oh, this is going to fundamentally change,'” she explained in her profile with Entertainment Weekly. “It did fundamentally change me, but it didn’t change my place in the business overnight. I still had to go back to work. I still had to try to fight to make a way out of no way.”
As Berry got older in an industry that has notoriously dismisses actresses of a certain age, she found the challenges to be even more apparent, though admits things are changing. “It used to be when you were 40 your career was done, and I mean really done,” she told the outlet. “Or you had to wait until you were old enough to play a grandma, and then you could have another bite at the apple, right? I mean, I couldn’t think that I’d be playing an MMA fighter at 54 years old. Yet I did, so it’s got to be changing. I’m proof of that.”
Throughout her career, Berry has consistently proven that she is not an artist you can pigeonhole into one particular role —in front of the camera or otherwise. Her onscreen work has been attributed to smaller budget, independent films (Things We Lost In The Fire, Frankie & Alice) along with box office knockouts (the X-Men franchise, John Wick).
Even her presence on social media has remained unfiltered and uplifting; a place where people can “meet me where I’m at, not in the past,” Berry described. With this new chapter of her career taking flight, and Bruised slated for a November 2021 debut, Berry has solidified herself as an absolute fighter, and she’s not backing down anytime soon.
The new issue of EW is on newsstands nationwide August 20th.
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