The other day I did roundtables for Perfect Stranger and got to talk with Halle Berry, Giovanni Ribisi, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas (Producer) and James Foley (Director). While Iím posting the transcripts for Giovanni and Halle
, the other two can only be heard as audio interviews as I have way too much to transcribe and post over the next few days.
So if youíd like to hear Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas (Producer) or James Foley (Director) click on either name (the files are MP3ís). I will warn you thoughÖ both interviews contain MAJOR spoilers and if you donít want to know the secrets of this film I would not listen until you have seen the movie. But if you have the time and want to listen to a crazy interview listen to James Foley. Seriously I have never heard someone give an interview like this. It has to be heard to be believed.
But enough of the other people, you clicked on this article to read about Halle.
In person Halle is every bit as gorgeous as she looks on screen. During the interview she mentioned how she had recently turned 40 and I couldnít believe it. I swear scientists need to study her and analyse everything.
While the interview has all the usual stuff, the one highlight was her revealing that sheíll be shaving her head bald for an upcoming role. It was when someone asked if she has a character sheís yearning to play:
Well, Iíd really like to be in a romantic comedy and I do have one coming up called Nappily Ever After that the women in the room would totally... Iím going to shave my hair, shave my head bald for this movie.
I canít wait. Iím going to be greasehead bald. I play this woman Venus, who ... the movie, itís all about a woman ... you know that relationship that women ... guys, just bear with me for one second ... the relationship that women have with their hair and how hair throughout history has defined us and how weíre in such bondage, you know and everything is if my hairís not right then weíre not right. So my character, at the beginning of the movie, something is done to her and her hair starts to fall out and you know ... and so she decides one night after being drunk trying to deal with the fact that their hair is dragged up, sheís drunk and she decides to shave her hair completely bald and now she has to face you know, 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 sheís bald and how sheís different now, and sheís forced to look at what beauty really is and it comes from inside obviously, not from the outside but itís a hard lesson for us to get and this movie will sort of expose that and help us sort of come to terms and may be every time we hear thunder, we wonít go like running for cover.
Iím sure the paparazzi will be fighting to get this photograph.
Again the interview was done in roundtable form which explains the wide variety of questions. If youíre not familiar with the term roundtable, thatís when the studio gets anywhere between 4 and 15 journalists around a table taking turns asking questions. Obviously each person is writing a story and has an agenda and that explains why certain questions were asked. While I might be interested in the craft of actingÖwhen you are at a table with US Weekly you know what theyíre going to ask about...
If youíd like to listen to the audio of the interview Ė click here Ė itís an MP3 and easily played on any portable player. Otherwise you can read it below.
And here is a link to the trailer in case you havenít seen it and here is the studio provided synopsis:
Perfect Stranger asks the question: How far would you go to keep a secret? When investigative reporter Rowena Price (Halle Berry) learns that her friendís murder might be connected to powerful ad executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), she goes undercover with the help of her associate, Miles Haley (Giovanni Ribisi). Posing as Katherine, a temp at Hillís agency, and Veronica, a girl Hill flirts with online, Rowena surrounds her prey from all sides, only to discover that she isnít the only one changing identities. The closer we get to learning the truth, the more we understand how far people will go to protect it.
Perfect Stranger opens on Friday the 13th
Question: Well, you actually took journalism at school and...
Halle Berry: Very briefly must I say.
Alright, did you, I mean what kind of journalist did you want to be? Did you want to be like your character? Did you want to do investigative work, or did you want to do this hard core junket reporting that we do.
I want to do this hard core stuff you guys do. Well, unfortunately because I didnít study it long enough, I hadnít really decided that yet. So I really donít know, but I knew that I was a good writer in high school and won awards, and I was the editor of my school newspaper. So I knew that I was a good writer and I wanted to somehow capitalise and sort of utilise a talent that I thought I had. How it would have manifested, I donít really know.
So why were you so passionate about playing this role, because your producer and director both said that you apparently were really in character so?
Well, you know, I love a character that gives me a chance to grow and do something different, and Row was so multifaceted, you know. I never played a character who played a character who played a character you know, and that gave me a chance as an artist to sort of stretch my limits and to challenge myself, and I was you know ... when I read the movie and I got to the end, I thought wow, I donít know how Iím going to pull this off but if I can but Iím going to go down trying because thatís how impassioned I was about it.
My favourite line in the movie or I guess one of the best lines in the movie is about the powerful... the words about powerful women and shitty men. Was that a line...
I wish I knew. The course of my life would be different if I knew the answer to that question.
Did you find that funny when you read that?
Hysterical, hysterical, hysterical and I wish I had learned the answer to that before the age of 40.
No, life mightíve been boring.
Yeah, okay. Life wouldíve been a big bore.
Do you find yourself feeling a little wiser now? I mean are you still God, youíre learning or whatís ... you know, where are you right now in terms of that kind of thing in life?
Always learning because I think as long as weíre here, if weíre logged on at all to this experience, then weíre learning. But I do think ... I would say a magical thing happened when my ... when the big 40th birthday came. It was really magical in a way for me. I felt like a light kind of just went off and may be because I felt like at 40, I had the right to you know say and be who I wanted to be and say what I wanted to say and not accept what I didnít want to accept, like may be it was me that felt the shift, but I do think Iíve gotten wiser and Iíve learned lots of lessons.
What do you mean the light went on when you turned 40?
I felt more self-assured, more confident. I felt like half my life is probably over now and I felt like I had the right to really be authentically who I want to be and say what I want to say, and not accept what didnít feel right and I donít think I felt confident enough to do that before 40 really. Not across the board on all levels. I was doing it in certain areas but now, I can happily say I can do that across the board.
Are you at the point where you donít care what people think?
Yeah... I was getting there slowly by slowly when I turned 35 but at 40, I really get it in a real way. It doesnít matter what they think. Do people really care? Nobody goes home really pondering what Halle Berry did or said.
You kissed the star yesterday.
Yeah ... it was and then somebody told ... reminding me, do you know that crack heads and drug addicts and ... then I thought thanks, did you have to remind me, you know. But yeah, it was just a spontaneous thing. I felt so proud of it and I felt like thatís what I wanted to do, so thatís what I did.
You have an Emmy, a Golden Globe, you have an Oscar, you have a star. What is it thatís left for you to do? What is it that you really want to do with the next half of your life now? Maybe a Grammy?
A Grammy! If I won a Grammy, thatíd be doing something. Lucky, I canít hold a note. If I could win a Grammy...
We can fix that in the studio, girl.
... thatíll tell me nothing.
Can you think of something you really want to do?
Yeah, thereís lots of things. You know, I mean I want to be a mother, like that feels really important. Career is one thing and I think Iíve gotten a lot out of this career and made the most of my opportunities but I am starting to feel like I need something more meaningful to wake me up in the morning, and itís feeling very much like itís family, itís children, itís ... you know.
Are you thinking about numbers? How many?
Oh God, Iím just hoping for one. Iím just hoping for one right now.
What kind of relationship did you have with director on the set?
A very ... you know, he is and you ask anybody and I would you know bet my life on this. You ask any actor that he has worked with and they all have loved him. They had to have. He is an actorís director. He is one of these unique directors that actually has the vocabulary to speak to actors and thatís a different language really because actors sometimes, you know, have to hear words from an organic place, not an intellectual places because sometimes, the choices we make as actor donít ... arenít based in anything cerebral. Theyíre just human emotions that are unexplainable sometimes and James Foley knows how to speak to us in those terms and he supports us. I remember on the first day of shooting ... did you hear this story about how he ... like on the first day of shooting, you know on the movie for the first time, you know everybodyís a little tense. As actors, weíre all very insecure and we just want the director to like what weíve been working on the night before for the first day. So Iím with Giovanni and weíre in that Chemley scene at the restaurant and we do the first take, and after the first take everyone of us is kind of you know, looking like okay, was that okay? How was that? And all we hear from another room, because heís in another room watching the monitor, we hear ah [screaming], yes. Weíre like what the hell was that? And itís James Foley and he was back and heís like ah [screaming], and that was the tone that he set and when we did something that he loved, we got that and when we didnít, of course he didnít but when we can get that from him and we all felt like okay.
He also said that you were 100% comfortable with your beauty because there is ... thereís one scene in this movie where youíre dressed incredibly and the camera does accentuate your physicality which is fine with me. But whereís that comfort zone come from and why do you ... is it easy for you to still be comfortable with that side of you?
I think thatís also come with 40, you know and just getting older. Iíve become really comfortable with my sexuality and making no excuses for it anymore. Itís part of being a woman; its part of what empowers us when weíre smart enough to know how to use it. The character of Row certainly knew how to use it, and I think Iíve been learning as Iíve gotten older. Iíve 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, so Iíd play crack heads and down trotting women and disguise myself, and I think as Iíve gotten older, I become more comfortable with who I really am and all parts of me knowing that my physical self doesnít diminish me in any way or my talent.
You have some really intense close-ups in this movie when youíre on the computer. Were you like plucking and waxing right before? Itís right there.
You tell me. Should I have been?
You looked very unplucked to me.
Iím sorry to disappoint you, I was not plucking and waxing moments before.
Did you have any feeling about the camera being right there in your face?
Well, I try ... you know, Iím not an actor who knows where the camera ever is. Iíve worked with actors who are always aware of not only where the camera is but what lens is on the camera. Iím sort of oblivious to it. I try to black it out. I never care if itís on me, not on me, if itís a close shot or a wide shot, I believe you have to do 100% your best every shot ... you know, every take. So no, I really wasnít aware. I probably shouldíve been. Once seeing the movie, Iíll probably think I shouldíve like said something about that but I really donít ... I donít care.
At this point in your career, what validates the work for you? What other people say is what you just feel instinctually? I mean do you know when youíve nailed it and youíve hit it?
I never really know when Iíve nailed it or when Iíve hit it. I think what validates it today is the fans. When people come up to me, I mean a lot of people ... now youíre all going to probably walk up out of this room right now when I say this. Iím going to say it anyway. A lot of fans, a lot of people liked Catwoman and itís validated... come on ... be less questions I have to answer ... Come on. But youíd be surprised how many people, especially young girls, came up and they really liked it and so thatís the validation. I try to focus on the positive of things and so the validation is really from the fans because thatís who we make movies for, for people and for fans and I think itís our job to offer them a variety, you know and do different kinds of things and so ...
But if you didnít have that validation from them, would you feel okay about the work?
Oh, yeah because I know every time for good or for bad, I give 100% of what I have to give in that moment and I make choices based on whatís happening in my life at that moment, what Iím most needing to do, sometimes for personal reasons, sometimes for the art of it. So knowing that I make decisions from the right place, I can live with that at night, no matter what the outcome of the project.
You have some upcoming projects that sound very interesting.
Class Act for example, is that which Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas (The Producer) was very excited about?
Yes, weíre the producer of that, yeah.
There are a lot of movies about teachers. Can you talk about what youíre going to bring to this ... to that woman that might be different from other women that youíve played?
Weíll see, I donít know yet. I havenít even begun to delve into who that woman is right now. So Iíll tell you about it on that junket because I really donít ... you know, itís something thatís not really close to me right now. Thatíd probably not go for another year and a half.
Not before that?
Before that, then youíve got?
Iíve got a movie coming out in the fall called Things We Lost in the Fire with Benicio Del Toro directed by Susanne Bier, a Danish director.
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