It was in January 2011, almost 2 years ago, that Halle Berry first voiced her interest in exploring the life of Angela Davis on screen in a scripted film; in an issue of Jet magazine, January 2011, which included an interview with Halle Berry, she said the following:
“I’ll probably never get to play it in my life and I am going to be sad until the day I die, but I really want to play Angela Davis-badly. So badly. I just think she’s fascinating and I think I would love to tell a story from her perspective about that time in our history and what it was all about with the black panthers.“
Skip ahead to this month, to the most recent issue of In Style magazine, which also included an interview with Halle with the following:
“Her story is so fascinating. I would love to bring it to the screen. I would pick her brain to have a better understanding of her affiliation with the Black Panthers and that period from the 1960s.” The movie Berry hopes to make would also explore Davis’ communist beliefs – she also ran as the U.S. vice presidential candidate for the Communist Party USA.
Given that she continues to mention it, almost 2 years later, one can only assume that she’s taken the necessary steps to actually give the idea life. It would be somewhat pointless to be so passionately vocal about it, as she seems to be from both interviews, and not act on the idea. She’s certainly in a position to do that – meet with Angela Davis and have a conversation about it and see where it leads.
There was a rumor last year, that she had indeed met with Davis prior to the Jet magazine interview, but Davis wouldn’t sign over her life rights to Halle. Again, it’s an unsubstantiated claim, so take that with a grain of salt.
But surely Angela Davis is aware of Halle’s interest, since she’s been public about it.
If it’s something that’s going to happen, it’ll have to be soon, because Halle’s getting older, as we all are, and if this is a film that documents the most dramatic, well-known years of Angela Davis’ public life (mid-60s to the early 70s), Halle wouldn’t be able to play the part, because Davis was in her 20s during that period in our history.
And while Halle looks undeniably great at 46, could she pass for a 24 to 30-year-old right now?
Unless she plans to instead produce the project, while some young up-and-comer stars in the film.
Or she’ll instead focus on Angela’s life after the trial that would catapult the then 26 year-old newly-appointed philosophy professor at the University of California at Los Angeles into a 1970s revolutionary icon.
Of course, there’s always the likelihood that she’d face the wrath of *the people* who may prefer to see another actress in the part.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Shola Lynch’s documentary, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, which made its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, a feature-length doc about the period, movement, and trial that Halle Berry’s film would cover.
Last year’s acclaimed doc The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, also touched a bit on the matter.