Friday, July 16, 2004
CATWOMAN'S HALLE BERRY
LOS ANGELES -- Today The Continuum continues a series of interviews from the Catwoman movie press junket, with Halle Berry, who plays the title role.
Following is an edited transcript of the interview.
Question: When you got offered the role, did you have a preconceived notion on how you would want to portryay Catwoman?
Berry:You know, I really didn't. I was surprised that it was coming my way in the first place. I thought, "They want me to play Catwoman? Hmm, that's interesting." So, no.
I had the images of Michelle Pfeiffer and Eartha Kitt in my head, thinking, "Wow, how could I be different than these two great women? What could I bring to it that would be interesting and different? And was I able to do that?" I had all these questions rolling around in my head.
And then once I realized the script would not be in Gotham City and would not involve Batman and that I would be dressed like a Catwoman of the 21st Century, I thought, "OK, that makes it different right there. I think I can do this." It was different even before I already started.
Question: Did you feel after you started the training that you felt like you bit off more than you could chew?
Berry: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. The first time I went to work with my Capoeira master -- that's the martial arts that I had to learn -- I thought, "Oh God, I can't do this. I'm never going to be able to do this." About three weeks in, I got better and it started to just come. And I thought, "Oh. OK. Maybe I can do this."
Question: How intensely did you prepare?
Berry: As intensely as I could. I finished a movie, Gothika, right before I started this and I suffered a broken arm on that movie. So when I started training for Catwoman, believe it or not, I had a cast on. I was trying not to further injure myself, but also take advanced course in weight training and Capoira lessons and dance and cat movements. It was a little stressful at first and I wish I would have had about a month longer to prepare, but I didn't due to my broken arm. But we managed to, I hope, work it out in enough time to get it up to speed.
Question: Talk about the whip cracking.
Berry: That was probably the best part. The whip is so elusive, but once you get your first crack of that whip, there's nothing better. Everybody wanted to crack the whip. Ben (Bratt) always wanted to crack the whip and he thought if he did it harder, he would crack. And I kept telling him, "Ben, it's not in the strength, it's in the finesse." And he thought he would do it harder and it just wouldn't crack.
It was interesting to watch men try to do it versus women. Women always did it better faster.
Question: What was your reaction when you first put on the Catwoman suit?
Berry: When I put it on before I started, I was horrified and terrifed because I thought, "Wow, I got to wear this? I mean, my gosh..." But once I got up to speed and I felt strong and healthy, and I had done all the work, putting that suit on was so empowering and liberating. And I felt a real sense of myself and all of my sensuality and my sexuality, and I just felt good. I would walk different, I would talk different, my stance was different. People would say, "Where did that walk come from?" It's hard not to walk like that when you have that suit on. It just comes alive.
Question: Did you get to keep it?
Berry: I have it, yeah.
Question: You could wear it for Halloween.
Berry: For a sequel, yes. I'm hoping. Halloween? No. (laughs).
And I didn't want it to end on eBay. So I said, "Guys, you have to give it to me. It's going to wind up on eBay if you don't. Somebody's going to steal it."
Question: What was it like working opposite Sharon Stone?
Berry: It was great. And it was nice to have a woman be the adversary. Know what I mean? So many times it's the man and it's so very stereotypical. And I thought this was an interesting twist to it, to have two women battling it out who view beauty from two totally opposites ends of the spectrum.
She's searching for the beauty from the outside in. And Catwoman, even looking as she does, is still searching for the deeper meaning of what beauty is and what being competent and sexy really is. It really comes from somewhere inside, not from the physical. It was nice to see those two go head-to-head, being so different in the way they approached life.
Question: How did you approach the fight scene with her?
Berry: We each had our own individual limitations, so we worked around each other's limitations and tried to play up each other's strengths. We used our doubles quite a bit in that scene because we never wanted to hurt each other and I had to do some wicked kicks and crazy things. And I thought, "If I kick Sharon Stone in the face and knock her teeth out, that's not going to be good. So please let her double work with me." Because I'm not a professional. I'm just learning this stuff. So we utilized our doubles a lot.
Question: Did you approach it different with Benjamin?
Berry: Yeah, Benjamin and I pretty much did our things. He would say, "I don't need a double. I can take If you kick me in the face, that's fine." He and I worked more together. Sharon and I really didn't.
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