There were plenty of reasons Halle Berry would star in âBruisedâ – but making her directorial debut wasn’t one of them.
âOf course, I loved the story, with this great female antagonist,â Berry, 55, said of MMA veteran Jackie Justice at a Zoom press conference.
âShe’s in the MMA world – I’ve seen a lot of boxing but not MMA. And it’s the fighting game, which is always a winner. I have always loved the story of the underdog of the fighter’s journey.
âBut this was written for a white Irish Catholic woman aged 21 to 25. So right away I had to reimagine this story if it could really be for me.
Jackie has become âa middle aged black woman in a community that I understand better. We haven’t seen this movie, âshe noted. âFor me, that’s the only reason to tell another story like this. To make it something really different.
This was before “Bruised” had a director.
“With all the training I would have to do, playing this role would be more than enough,” said Berry.
âWith MMA, it’s more than boxing. It’s all of those other disciplines, like jujitsu, taekwondo, wrestling, and kickboxing. I knew that as an actor I would have a very long journey. Full plate.
It wasn’t until choosing a director that Berry realized that everyone she spoke to âhadn’t quite seen what I had seen. It was hard for me to get out of my mind into the world without having it on paper.
âAfter watching for a few months, I thought this was going to sound crazy, but I said to my producers, ‘I think I should direct.’ To my surprise, they said yes.
âI’m so glad they said yes. Because watching Jackie’s journey through this story is largely internal. “
She began filming the climactic boxing streak, a five-day shoot. On the second day, she broke two ribs and kept it a secret until the end of the fight. “I knew they would shut us down and we would never be back if I revealed what had happened.”
Berry was able to “create a world that I knew 100% to be true.” I have experienced many parts of it. A lot of these characters are based on people I really know. I understand the breaking up of human beings.
âI understand that we are all fighting for other chances, making mistakes, seeking redemption. I certainly understand what it’s like to be a mother and a wife. And I feel like I’ve been a fighter my whole life.
âBruisedâ streams on Netflix November 24