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Halle Berry on ‘Bruised’, Wanting to Play Zendaya’s Mother and Advice for Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman

Variety's Awards Circuit Podcast: Also on this episode, Ariana DeBose on her star-making "West Side Story" role.

Hallee Berry Variety Cover Story
Cliff Watts for Variety

Halle Berry has her eyes on the future. The Oscar-winning actor, who just released her directorial debut “Bruised” (in which she also stars), isn’t content with the ground she has already broken. Next up: She’d like to work with rising superstar Zendaya. “I have a plan,” she says. “I would love to play her mother. I have an idea because I think she’s the future.”

Berry also has advice for Zoë Kravitz, who will be playing Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ highly anticipated “The Batman” with Robert Pattinson. “I’ll just tell her, get ready, they might come for you – but don’t let that affect your interpretation about who she thinks Catwoman might be,” she says. “I personally think she’s going to be a wonderful Catwoman.”

In this edition of the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, Berry talks about a career that has been one of accolades, struggles and redemption, constantly emerging stronger than she was before. Her work on “Bruised” proves this fact. She opens up about getting “Bruised” made and what it felt like being the number one movie on Netflix, plus her struggles to find quality work after winning the Oscar. Berry additionally talks about her following acting projects on the horizon, which include “Moonfall” from Roland Emmerich, “The Mothership” from Matt Charman and “Our Man from Jersey” co-starring Mark Wahlberg. Listen below!

After she won her Oscar for best actress for “Monster’s Ball” (2001), Berry thought she would have the pick of the litter for roles and characters. “I thought the script truck was going to back up to my door and dump them all off,” Berry shares. “That’s my naivete. I’ve got a historic win. Clearly, this is going to mean this struggle is going to be indelibly easier for me. And that just didn’t happen. Weeks went by, and finally, it set in. Oh, I have this award, and I can’t go anywhere now without someone knowing my name. But within the industry, the big famous directors, no one called. My reality went back to normal, and I was still suffering from ‘just being a pretty face.'”

Written by debut screenwriter Michelle Rosenfarb, “Bruised” tells the story of Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter that seeks redemption once the son that she abandoned reenters her life.

In probably her most challenging and authoritative work as an actress since 2001, Berry shows that at 55 years old, she still harnesses the talent and enthusiasm to take on any role. She explores Jackie’s physicality and the profession of MMA fighting itself. The actors’ branch tends to appreciate this, and she’s in the conversation for SAG and the Oscar race. It should be noted, no female director has ever directed themselves to an Oscar nomination for acting – but she’s shattered ceilings before.

Just last month, when Berry accepted the career achievement award at the Celebration of Black Cinema, she spoke candidly about her worth and not putting too much value in awards. “Let’s stop coveting that and letting that be the measure of our worth and our success.”

Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in movies. Michael Schneider is the producer and Drew Griffith edits. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.