Halle Berry (Cleveland, Ohio, 55 years old) is perfectly aware that, of all the genres she could have chosen for her directorial debut (and for her return to the cinema after a two-year hiatus), the one she has chosen has the bar very high: “The Wrestler, Million Dollar Baby, Rocky, Cinderella Man, even wild bull… they are all films that have always fascinated me, essentially because I think we all like a good story of outcasts who manage to overcome all obstacles “, says the actress, whose timeless beauty stands out especially against the ocher background of the room virtual where he does the promotional interviews for the film in which he also stars and which premieres today on Netflix, a platform that has paid the actress $ 20 million to get involved in the project.
Bruised (Wound) tells the harsh story of a boxer (herself), former MMA champion (Mixed Martial Arts), called Jackie Justice to which, as the canons of this type of film dictate, after touching sporting glory, life has not treated well in any way: sunk in alcoholism and trapped in a toxic relationship with her former manager , played by Adan Canto, at the precise moment when he begins to consider returning to the ring to get out of his ruinous financial situation, his six-year-old son appears on the scene, whom he had abandoned shortly after birth.
Although the film deals with a story of overcoming, the oppressive atmosphere does not accentuate the epic aspect of the fights or leave room for sentimentality: on the contrary, it highlights the violence of this sporting sphere and deals in a very crude way with issues such as uprooting, drug addiction and gender violence. Why such a tough proposal? “Well, if you found it hard to see it, imagine living that reality. Sometimes we have this wonderful opportunity where we can use film and art to help educate. As long as we can do that, it is something very valuable. And I think that being a black woman who loves wrestling, she had a lot to say about this sport and the world around her. ” Berry says she grew up hearing about Ali, Joe Frazier, Foreman or Sugar Ray Leonard in her neighborhood and that it marked her. Kind but direct, he lets out phrases like right hands: “Nothing that is portrayed in this film is totally foreign to me.” Although he does not consider at all necessary to be familiar with the portrayed environment to empathize with the story: “We have all made mistakes, we have all wanted to be forgiven, we have all tried to defeat a ghost at some point in our lives, so this guy of narratives we can always relate it to something of our own very personal ”.
Her assertive tone is very much in tune with the theme and tone of Michelle Rosenbarb’s script, which she herself has modified to suit her own acting needs. “The movie originally starred a 21-year-old white Irish Catholic girl. So we necessarily had to change that ”, he says ironically. “I also had to modify the neighborhood in which I lived and think about how the characters would relate to a black woman, with a young son, both residents of a black neighborhood. What would your problems be? And the problems of his family of origin? Nor does it in the least sweeten the portrait of motherhood: “It is often taken for granted that women as mothers have to be loving and tender, but there is a whole segment of society in which that does not happen. For the most varied reasons, you may end up not being the most loving mother in the world. There are simply women who cannot afford that luxury and both these women and their children have a different vision of life, which does not mean that they are less mothers, that they are less connected with their children or that they do not love them ”, she says. .
Berry, whose hectic love life has always been the object of scrutiny by the press of the heart and who has an eight-year-old son, product of his relationship with the actor Olivier Martínez and a daughter of 13, born from his relationship with Gabriel Aubry (whom he sued to obtain custody of the girl), says that he is not reflected in that mother he portrays: “I grew up in a broken home, with an abusive father and a single mother. I have chosen to break the cycle, do the work and become a different kind of parent. ” The experience that has been totally new for her has been directing. Getting behind the camera has been a tremendous challenge, but at the same time it has made the men who directed it in previous phases of his career understand, and he remarks it with a sense of humor: “When you are an actor you only think about yourself and yourself. interpretation, but when you put yourself on the other side you realize that sometimes, when a director has made your life impossible or asked you to film in the strangest circumstances, he had a very good reason for it ”.