Halle is Up to the challenge as she Takes on No Less than Six Roles and a Mix ‘n Match of Genders and Races.
By Rowena Banks, The Interview Feed
“I just often feel so lucky, that I get to do what I love.”
When it comes to Halle Berry’s acting range, if you’re talking about her latest movie Cloud Atlas, her multi-tasking talents could not be more the opposite of narrow. Halle was apparently up to the challenge and then some, as she relates in this interview, of taking on no less than six roles and a mix ‘n match of genders and races, in a movie directed by no less than three filmmakers: Tom Tykwer, and Andy and Lana Wachowski.
And in an immense labor of love where Halle carried on, broken bones and all, being literally carried around by an available and obliging hunk on the set. But first the determined diva talks about her other combo roles in the real
|“Well, I wasn’t always Ovid. At one point, Tom Hanks was gonna be Ovid. And she was gonna be a woman. And then somewhere along the line, they said no. You’re gonna be Ovid.” Photo Rueters|
world, as single mom and celebrity.
Question (Q): How is your life as a single mother going?
Halle Berry (HB): I’m raising a family, and living my life and doing something I love. And it does just feel like fun.
Q: Well, what is the high for you about the job of being a movie star?
HB: I just keep loving that I keep waking up, and get to earn a living. I’m not one of those people – and unfortunately some of my friends are – they’re always saying, thank god it’s Friday! I never even care that it’s Friday. Or if it’s Sunday or Monday. The way the structure of our life is, it’s just such a different climate. And a different environment. And I just often feel so lucky, that I get to do what I love. And, you know, that I keep getting asked to do it, and that I keep getting paid to do it! And I get to try new things, and stretch myself. And sometimes things work, and sometimes they don’t. But that’s the nature of what being an actor is all about.
Q: Halle, this movie has religious overtones. And not that it’s anybody’s business but yours, but how does that relate to your own religious beliefs?
HB: Ha! Okay, whatever you believe, reincarnation! Or not.
Q: And I hear you broke lots of bones.
HB: Every day, it gets more and more! Now it’s five bones! But anyway, I did it two days into shooting. Which was a real bummer. I think for everybody involved! So yeah, I really broke five bones in my foot. And I really thought, it was so physical what I had to do. So I thought, there’s no way that I’m gonna be able to just do this. And what I found out with lots of tape and wrapping, and things that could be done to get me through the process, I found ways to just grin and bear it. And get through it. But I did think I was gonna be recast, I sat there in my bed, you know, foot up in the air. And I got a call saying, the directors want to come talk to you. And I thought okay, they’re gonna give me my walking papers. And say, we love you! But too many people are involved, and too many schedules have been made for too many years. So you know, we’re bringing in Angela Bassett or somebody! So I thought, okay. I’m gonna be gracious, and I’m gonna accept it. But they came in and they said, no. We love you, and we really want you to stay. And we’re gonna work this out.
Q: That would have been strange, giving you those walking papers, when you can’t walk!
HB: Yeah! But I was carried! I had this guy carry me. And I felt like such an idiot! You know, that I was being carried around by this like six foot five guy! Everywhere I went. But I think it’s true. Not that they would have, but everybody’s response to it, was wanting me to stay too. So I think that made the energy go towards, let’s stay and work this out. And everybody had to do whatever they had to do. Like Tom had to go back and shoot in Majorca, when we were supposed to be done. And people had to change their schedules around. You know, they were supposed to be done, and they weren’t gonna be done. So it was a big shift. And everybody just sort of rallied around.
Q: So which one of your numerous characters in Cloud Atlas did you find the most fun to do?
HB: I didn’t find any of them, I loved them all. I mean, that’s what I really have to say. I have to say that I did love being turned into Ovid. I mean, to be an Asian man. Like never before in my life, would I ever thought anybody anywhere, would ever hire me to be an Asian man. For any reason! So that was probably a day that, you know, I felt like I’m doing something unique. And that I’ll never have a chance to do again. But I love the totality of all the characters. To be an old native in the 1800s. And then go on to be this, you know, extra-terrestrial kinda like being from another planet. That came down to help this other group of people. And I felt like it was such a diverse group of people that I got to play. So it’s hard for me to choose which one. They all had reasons why I loved putting on those skins. And you know, being those characters. And trying to bring them to life, for me.
Q: This is a really fascinating look at identity, class and gender that filters into your roles. Talk about that.
HB: Well, just playing a man. And a white woman! And that was particularly significant for me. Because I was in a costume fitting with Tom, trying to bring Jocasta to life. And he was bringing out one beautiful dress after the next, and I’m trying them on. And he says, oh you look so beautiful. You must have worn dresses like this in 1935. And I just kinda looked at him and I said, you think so? You think I have really, as an actor, you think I’ve done this before? And he said, yes! You look good in everything. You have had to have done this. And I said Tom, just think about it for a minute. And then all of a sudden, he goes, oh. You’re black! You’re not really white. You wouldn’t have been this kind of woman in 1935 ever, right. So there were little moments like that. Which said to me, this is so poignant for an actor and someone like me, to be able to shed my skin. And you know, do something that I would have never been able to do. If it were not for this kind of project, that allowed me to do it.
Q: Did it feel like six different movies for you?
HB: It didn’t feel like six different movies, really. I thought it felt like one movie, but with six different characters within one movie.
Q: How about being directed in such a complex story by different filmmakers? 4
HB: They took all the homework out of it. They had done the work. I mean, the screenplay was very much like you see in the movie. And that wasn’t like a masterful editing job. It was all written, as you kind of see it in the movie. Which made it easier to understand when you read it. Because it was kind of all there. But they were so kind, and they were so gracious. And they were so happy that we would show up every day! And that we all agreed to say yes. I mean, we all worked. It wasn’t like this was a big money job, for anybody. We were all there, because we loved it. And because we wanted to be part of something that was innovative. And different. And that would somehow hopefully, if nothing else, there had never been a 100 million dollar independent movie. Where you have to have a lot of love and passion. You know, to be able to make that kind of movie. Because that’s just unheard of right now. So we were all there. And you could feel the love. It was palpable. It was like so much respect for everybody. And all the directors had one vision. And I personally thought after I said yes, like this is gonna be a nightmare. Three different directors? Like I’m gonna feel schizophrenic! Like who am I gonna listen to. And is this gonna work for how I like to work. But it was just seamless. They were on the same page, going from one unity to the next. But their styles were very different. Like where Tom talked a lot before we shot, and Lana and Andy had to shoot first. And then they’d talk about what they saw what you did. And then they added their opinion, and then you did it again. So it was different, but they had one cohesive vision. And they were very clear about the movie they were making. And it felt, the tone and the feeling was very much the same, from set to set.
Q: What about the gender switchups going on, did that make you nuts?
HB: Well, I wasn’t always Ovid. At one point, Tom Hanks was gonna be Ovid. And she was gonna be a woman. And then somewhere along the line, they said no. You’re gonna be Ovid. Because as far as your soul’s journey, you need to be Ovid. Car: 1/12/13