Halle Berry has been candid in the past about how her career failed to take off the way she expected after her Academy Award win for Best Actress, a historic victory as she became the first Black woman to win the category. “I thought, ‘Oh, all these great scripts are going to come my way; these great directors are going to be banging on my door,’” Berry told Variety last year. “It didn’t happen. It actually got a little harder. They call it the Oscar curse. You’re expected to turn in award-worthy performances.”
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote her upcoming feature directorial debut “Bruised,” Berry said the lack of opportunities following her Oscar win meant she would not only be able to make a career out of artistic choices and working with top filmmakers. Berry found herself not being able to say no to certain projects as a result.
“It’s like, okay, that’s a film I can’t say I’m totally in love with, but this isn’t a hobby. It’s how I take care of my children,” Berry said. “But I try to keep that sense of wonder and stay curious. Because being a Black woman, I haven’t always had parts that I absolutely love.”
“It was surprising because I thought they were going to just back up the truck and drop them off at my house, right?,” Berry said about the influx of roles she expected to pour in after her Oscar win. “When you have a historic win like that, you think, ‘Oh, this is going to fundamentally change.’ 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.”
Even though Berry landed the lucrative role of Jinx in the James Bond tentpole “Die Another Day,” plans to spin the character off into her own movie fell through because MGM refused to hand over an $80 million budget to a Berry-led action vehicle. The loss of the Bond franchise and the limited opportunities made it hard for Berry to say no to “Catwoman,” the 2004 comic book tentpole that is commonly referred to as one of the worst films ever made. Berry won a Razzie Award for her performance in the film.
“It was one of the biggest paydays of my whole life, which, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Berry told EW. “I don’t want to feel like ‘Oh, I can only do award-worthy stuff.’ What is an award-worthy performance?”
In last year’s Variety interview, Berry said of her choice to join the “Catwoman” movie: “People said to me, ‘You can’t do that. You’ve just won the Oscar.’ Because I didn’t do Jinx, I thought, ‘This is a great chance for a woman of color to be a superhero. Why wouldn’t I try this?’”
Berry’s directing debut, “Bruised,” will start streaming November 24 on Netflix. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.