Halle Berry on Being Comfortable in Her Own Skin: The camera lovingly accentuates her assets in Perfect Stranger and that’s fine by Berry who's now completely comfortable with her sexuality and looks. “I think that also comes with 40, you know, and just getting older. I’ve become really comfortable with my sexuality and making no excuses for it anymore. It’s part of being a woman. It’s part of what empowers us, when we’re smart enough to know how to use it. The character of Row certainly knew how to use it, and I think I’ve been learning as I’ve gotten older. I’ve become comfortable with that side of who I am.
In the beginning, I used to have to downplay it because I wanted to be taken so seriously as a thespian and as an artist and as an actor. I’d play crackheads and downtrodden women and disguise myself. I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more comfortable with who I really am and all parts of me, knowing that my physical self doesn’t diminish me in any way or my talent.”
Looking Into the Future: Is there a character Berry’s yearning to play? “Well, I’d really like to be in a romantic comedy,” revealed Berry. “I do have one coming up called Nappily Ever After. I’m going to shave my hair, shave my head bald for this movie. I can’t wait. I’m going to be greasehead bald. I can’t wait.”
Berry hopes to begin work on that film this coming summer. Casting isn’t complete and they’re still looking for the right romantic leading man. “We don’t know yet because the last version of the script just came in and it came out really good.” Berry will be wearing two hats for Nappily Ever After, taking on the job of producing the film as well as starring in it.
Beauty and a Sense of Humor: Comedy isn’t exactly the genre most associated with Berry. “That’s another nut for me to crack because I have to convince them that I could do a comedy. I think, you know, they don’t see it right now so Nappily I’m doing for myself. It’ll be a chance to sort of show that side.”
Her Character in Nappily Ever After: “I play this woman, Venus. The movie, it’s all about a woman... You know that relationship that women have with their hair and how hair throughout history has defined us and how we’re in such bondage? Everything is, ‘If my hair’s not right, then we’re not right.’ So my character, at the beginning of the movie, something is done to her and her hair starts to fall out. She decides one night after being drunk trying to deal with the fact that their hair is dragged up, she’s drunk and she decides to shave her hair completely bald. Now she has to face the next morning with no hair and how her whole life and everybody around her is now different and behaves differently. Because she was this beautiful goddess with this long hair and now she’s bald and how she’s different now. She’s forced to look at what beauty really is and it comes from inside, obviously, not from the outside. But it’s a hard lesson for us to get and this movie will sort of expose that and help us sort of come to terms. And maybe every time we hear thunder, we won’t go running for cover.”
Losing Her Hair for a Role: Her character tries all sorts of things once she goes bald, but Berry nixed the idea of doing the film wearing a cap. The Oscar-winner wanted to play it authentic by actually shaving off her hair. Commenting on that decision Berry said, “I’m really ready. I think I want to get this lesson on film because I think I still struggle with this hair issue, too. I’m really going to get the lesson on film. Hopefully other women will get it too.”
A Little Bit on Things We Lost in the Fire: Next up is Things We Lost in the Fire co-starring Benicio Del Toro and directed by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier. “It’s very different from this movie on many levels,” explained Berry. “It’s a little, small movie that deals with love and loss. It’s very different in the sense that, you know, this is sort of designed to be a crowd pleaser, a whodunit. You know, this is a slice of life movie, a little movie that will probably take the festival route this year.”
Berry says she had a wonderful time working with Del Toro on the film. “Benicio was great. He’s somebody that I always wanted to work with. I remembering sitting at junkets and people [asking], ‘Who would you really love to work with?’ I always would say, ‘Benicio Del Toro, Benicio Del Toro,’ and so I finally got a chance to do that. He’s one of the greatest and I got to work and watch and learn. And to play with somebody who’s that good and that instinctually organic, it was really fun.”