Halle Berry: X-Men’s Stormy Leader

She’s made history with her Oscar win and traded quips with James Bond. She’s cracked the whip and accepted a Razzie for playing Catwoman. Whatever she does right or wrong, you can’t keep Halle Berry down, and you sure can’t keep her away from the role she was born to play, that of Ororo Munroe AKA Storm.

She’s back as the weather-altering mutant in X-Men: The Last Stand, presumably the final chapter of the trilogy, and this time she has a lot more screen time and things to do than the previous movie. She talked to Superhero Hype! about some of them.

Superhero Hype!: What’s the joy of returning to the “X-Men” with this movie?

Halle Berry: 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, and I love that I get to hang out with them and 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 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. 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.

SHH!: So you basically told them that you wouldn’t come back unless you got to do more in the movie?

Berry: That’s what I threatened. (laughs) I really wasn’t going to do that, but I thought that I somehow have to scare the sh*t 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.

SHH!: Were you ever worried that they might get someone else to play Storm?

Berry: Yes, and I didn’t like it. I would never not had come back. Honestly, I love the character and I love the franchise and my responsibility to come and see this character through. I just felt passionately that she needed to be stronger. 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, and pass up two roles where I can really do something. 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.

SHH!: How did you feel when you learned that Bryan Singer wasn’t coming back, then when they switched directors from Matthew Vaughn to Brett Ratner?

Berry: At one point, it was a little scary. I wasn’t really on at the 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. 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.

SHH!: How do you think the character has evolved with this new movie?

Berry: 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.

SHH!: Did doing all that spinning in the movie make you nauseous?

Halle Berry: Yep. You realize how nauseas you can get when you’re spinning at the speed of light. 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.”

SHH!: How was it fighting with Dania Ramirez, who plays Storm’s arch-enemy, Callisto?

Berry: She’s tough. We’re not professional stunt people obviously, so every once in a while, our limbs got away from us.

SHH!: Who did you like hitting more? Dania or Sharon Stone in “Catwoman”?

Berry: (Laughs) I don’t know. I don’t think it’s a question for me to answer. You will have to tell me.

SHH!: Can you imagine Storm taking over the school one day?

Berry: Be careful what you wish for.

SHH!: Can you go forward with the franchise under those circumstances?

Berry: 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.

SHH!: Did you ever go back to the comics to look at Storm’s history and where she’s at in the comics and would you consider doing a Storm spin-off ever?

Berry: 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.

SHH!: So no more comic book superheroes for you?

Berry: 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.

SHH!: Would you consider doing more independent films like “Monster’s Ball”?

Berry:: 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.”

SHH!: If they were to make a movie about your life story, who would you want to play you?

Berry: I don’t know about playing me, but when thinking about who would do my life justice, and who’s a formidable actress that I think would really get into it, I would say Kerry Washington. I love Kerry Washington, and she’s young enough, much younger than me, and I think she’s amazing.

SHH!: What do you think your personal legacy will be?

Berry: I think about this sometimes, especially as I’m thinking about having children and raising children and what I can give them, I would just want people to see me as a woman who dared to live her life as her authentic self and do what she believed in. Then when others did it or others didn’t understand why, I would hope my legacy is one of a woman just living her life the way she wanted to on her terms. I think that’s what I would want to leave for my children and not worry what people think about whoever they are; and that’s hard to be that girl and be that person and be caught up in what people think. It’s designed that way, especially in this industry, so that’s what I think.

X-Men: The Last Stand opens everywhere on Friday, May 26. Read Superhero Hype!’s interviews with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Brett Ratner and Kelsey Grammer.

Source: Edward Douglas