X-MEN: THE LAST STAND - An Interview with Halle Berry
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|X-MEN: THE LAST STAND - An Interview with Halle Berry
By: Wilson Morales
Last seen on the big screen as one of the animated voices in “Robots” and also on the small screen in “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, Halle Berry also produced the critically acclaimed film, HBO’s Lackawanna Blues. Rest assured that her “Catwoman” days are in the past, especially when she dons on the suit of another comic book character, the beautiful and captivating Storm from the “X-Men” franchise. Initially hesitant to return due to a lack of story for her character, Berry is indeed back and her Storm is much of a force in “X-Men: The Last Stand” than in the previous film. In speaking with blackfilm.com, Berry talks about what she wanted for her character, seeing old friends, and her upcoming projects, including producing a film with Alicia Keys attached.
Halle Berry: Yep. You realize how nauseas you can get when you’re spinning at the speed of light.
How many times did you have to do that? Was there a point when you wanted to do it on CGI?
HB: Luckily, our stunt coordinator, Simon Crane, is not into abuse, so he only made me do it a few times, especially because I was getting sick. Once we got it right, he was done because Brett does about 50 takes. I was like, ‘Thank God Brett is not here right now because this would be bad.”
Does Storm spin or twirl?
HB: She spins. If I were twirling, I would be vomiting, but I was spinning. (Laughs)
What’s the joy on working on this film?
HB: It feels great. One of the biggest joys is the camaraderie and seeing my friends. I love Hugh Jackman. I love Anna Paquin. I love these people. Just these people and I love that I get to hang out with them and we get to catch up because we all go on and lead different lives and do different things and don’t talk as much as we like, so we get to come back on this movie and get reconnected again. I get to see Hugh’s beautiful baby and pick up where we left off. That’s a big personal joy. The joy in the work is that I love this character and I get to put on the wig again and this time I got to do more of the things I wanted to do. In the last film I didn’t get to do things so I was really happy about that.
It was previously mentioned that you had stated that you didn’t want to come back unless you had more to do in the film.
HB: That’s what I threatened. (laughs) But I really wasn’t going to do that, but I thought that I somehow have to scare the shit out of them and get them to give Storm a point of view, so I really didn’t say that to the studio; I just sort of threw that around thinking that it will get some attention. This is all I ever wanted. Not really more screen time because I know it’s an ensemble, but if Storm spoke for 5 minutes, then I wanted it to be 5 minutes that meant something; 5 minutes of character development; 5 minutes of a point of view and 5 minutes of some back story history, not just “go get the plane” or “come on kids, let’s go”. After three movies, I really wanted her lines to mean something.
How do you think the character has evolved?
HB: I think she evolved quite nicely, especially considering that there’s a bunch of other great characters that need some evaluation and development and screen time. I thought just the one sentence in the beginning of the movie when she says, you know, that she realized that she was from Africa and in her country, with her powers she was revered and in this country she’s put down upon. That alone said a lot about who she was, where she came from, and what her struggles was all about. That’s all I ever wanted, a little bit of understanding of who she was.
How did you when heard that Bryan Singer wasn’t coming back and then they switched directors from Matthew Vaughn to Brett Ratner?
HB: At one point, it was a little scary. I wasn’t really on at this time when all this was going on. Realistically I was in a dilemma, not showing up because they didn’t write for my part, I knew by then the part was there, it was that I had another movie that I was set to do when they finally got X-Men together, so I was a little torn. That’s why I actually held out towards the end, not for any creative reason. I wasn’t really that involved when they were changing directors, but I was surprised to hear that Bryan wasn’t going to be doing it. I didn’t think that they would make a third one without him and I didn’t think they would either. They thought they would, which is why I think it got postponed and a lot of drama took place. When they finally came to terms that they would not make it without him, and when I heard it was Brett, I was really happy because I believe him to be a good director and I knew he would bring the energy to the last one that I think it needed and that the fans wanted.
Were you ever worried that they might get someone else to play Storm?
HB: Yes, and I didn’t like it. I would never not had come. Honestly, I love the character and I love the franchise and my responsibility to come and see this character through, so it would never not really be here I just felt passionately that she needed to be stronger. In making an X-Men film is a big chunk of my year. I could have done two movies in the time it takes to do an X-Men film, so I struggled with this time in my career. I’m not getting any younger and do I want to give nine months out of my year to a movie that I do nothing in but pass up two roles where I can really do something, so it’s those sorts of decisions that one has to start making for one’s self. So, I’m happy that I got to do more in this film.
There’s a set up in the film where Storm can do a lot. Can you imagine taking over the school one day?
HB: Be careful what you wish for.
Can you go forward with the franchise under those circumstances?
HB: I could imagine it. You did see the end right? So I don’t know if that’s where they are going. If this is the end, which in my mind it probably is, I’m just really happy with the way it ended; and if does well, Fox will do another one. It would be advantageous for them to do another one. I think they will if the fans love this one enough and enough people go see it and they all want it, I’m sure there will be another one.
Did you ever go back to the comics to look at Storm’s history and the latest stage she’s at? Would you ever consider doing a spin-off to this with Storm?
HB: No. I think I like coming in and playing Storm, but there are so many things I want to do with my career that I don’t think I want to dedicate that much time to doing a spin-off character on Storm.
No more comic book superheroes for you?
HB: Nope. I think I’m done. When you play one like this to play another one would be going backwards at best at this point. I don’t think I can beat it so why try.
Are you looking to do more films like a “Monster’s Ball” in terms of independent films?
HB: I’m always looking. I think there’s this big misconception. So many people would say that “after “Monster’s Ball” I thought you were going to do blah and blah, but you did “Catwoman” and I don’t get it.” Here’s what you don’t really get is that I wish as an actor I can magically say, “Ok. I had one great role and now on my next one, give me another one and the one after that, give me another one, and I want another one.” It just doesn’t work like that and being a woman and a woman of color, it’s still a struggle for actors in general to find great parts. You’re lucky if you have one great part in your career that garners you an Academy Award or any award, so it’s just not easy to fail. Of course, we all want to great role after great role but it’s not a reality so I try not to focus on that and just let just do what I did when I won that award and that was doing movie that I thought would be fun where I can learn and I can grow and do something different; sometimes it’s for a paycheck cause you gotta eat; and sometimes you do movies for various reasons as an actor. This is how you make a living and this is how you plan your future, for your children and for old age, and for your families, so you have to think in those terms, and it’s not always about a great part. It’s about a life that you have to provide for yourself.
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