Halle Berry: James Bond makes me nostalgic
She's worn many hats. Academy-Award winner Halle Berry has been Catwoman, romanced James Bond, taken a helluva paycheck for Swordfish, and basically been one of the hottest and most versatile actresses in Hollywood.
Raja Sen emailed her a bunch of questions about her latest project Cloud Atlas -- and while she chose not to tackle the funnest of the bunch, alas -- she had quite a bit to say. Here we go:
Ms Berry, what can you tell us about the character/characters you play in Cloud Atlas? And what in particular made you take on this project?
I am playing multiple roles in Cloud Atlas.The film is very diverse. It's about subject matter that I really feel strongly about, something I actually believe in. Everything about the project excited me.
It was an opportunity for me to work with Tom Hanks and with Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. I was so grateful for being approached by them that I was on board immediately.
Besides, in the past, I haven't done something that is so challenging. As an artist, to play different kinds of characters in one movie was a constant challenge day-after-day.
How much of the script mirrors David Mitchell's novel? Do you think one must read the book to get the film? Or should one experience each differently?
David Mitchell's novel is an award-winning bestseller and the film does complete justice to it. The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer's screenplay just made the novel simpler for me. Cloud Atlas is a movie that offers food for thought for everyone, regardless of the fact whether the viewers have read the book or not.
Image: Halle Berry in Cloud Atlas
'I was so grateful that they even thought of me'
Who was a more demanding director to work with? The Wachowskis or Mr Tykwer? How has the experience been, as a performer, to watch these pieces fit together?
First of all, I was so grateful that they even thought of me. And what I take away from this experience was that people have said to me, "You were directed by three people!" You have to be nuts, playing all of these characters."
But I will echo what Tom says about it, and what was so beautiful about it is Lana and Andy speak as one person. They finish each other's sentences, their thoughts are the same, they've talked about this for so long that the vision is clear and there's a safe feeling that came with that. I would have tried anything they said because I figured, "If I hadn't thought about it, I knew they had, and it just might work." So there was safety.
And Tom, it was the same way. I felt the same comfort with him, safety. It was always joyful, he was happy to see me every day -- and I really appreciated that. It was a fun, fun, fun experience. And I think everybody on the film will say that, from top to bottom, that while it was big and overwhelming and daunting -- even to Tom, Lana and Andy -- they never let it trickle down to us. I think we all had a good acting experience on the sets.
As someone who does such a consistent mix of smaller dramatic films and massive-budget epic films, which kind do you personally enjoy watching, on your own time?
It is not the genre or the budget that matters, it's the film. I am a fan of good cinema.
Image: Halle Berry in Cloud Atlas
'It was a wonderful experience to be a part of James Bond'
James Bond celebrates 50 on-screen years this year. As a Bond-girl who paid tribute to the first and most mentioned of James' ladies, tell us what Halle Berry the actress really thinks of James Bond, the character. Would his smoothness work on you, Ms Berry?
James Bond makes me nostalgic. I feel the character is extremely charming and all the actors who have portrayed him have done justice to the role. It was a wonderful experience being part of the franchise.
Cloud Atlas has an unbelievably impressive cast. Which of this top-notch ensemble were you personally surprised by?
Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant are all amazing people. There is so much to learn from them. And I was surprised to see Hugh Grant go around the set in his cannibal outfit. It was incredible fun.
If you had to describe Cloud Atlas in ten words or less, what would you say?
Lana & Andy and Tom as a team have created, what I believe, is a masterpiece.
Image: Halle Berry in Die Another Day