At the time of filing worldwide distribution rights to Halle Berry’s directorial debut.
Berry’s “Bruised,” an MMA drama that is screening as a work-in-progress at the Toronto Film Festival, was sold for close to $20 million to Netflix. Endeavor Content repped the filmmakers in the deal, with Sierra/Affinity assisting on international.
Producers on the project include Basil Iwanyk, Brad Feinstein, Guymon Casady, Erica Lee, Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis, Terry Dougas, Linda Gottlieb, and Gillian Hormel. Deadline first reported news of the sale.
In “Bruised,” Berry plays a washed-up MMA fighter, Jackie “Justice,” who has to defeat her own inner demons and face one of the most intense rising stars of the MMA world to make her young son, Manny, proud.
Though she directed “Bruised,” Berry and her film’s producers didn’t see her in the director’s chair. But that changed after interviewing many directors who didn’t see her vision on how to bring the script to the screen.
The 50-minute Q&A, moderated by a Toronto media personality, Amanda Parris, included clips from Spike Lee’s classic “Jungle Fever,” Berry’s breakout role; 2001’s “Monster’s Ball,” for which Berry became the first and still only Black woman to win the Best Actress Academy Award; and her latest film, which premieres Sept. 12 at TIFF as “a work in progress.”
In the beginning, she was Maria Halle Berry. Born on August 14, 1966. She began as a model and entered several beauty contests, finishing as the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant and coming in sixth in the Miss World 1986. She burst onto the scene in the romantic comedy “Boomerang” (1992), alongside Eddie Murphy. Her other credits include “The Flintstones” (1994), “Bulworth” (1998), and the television “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” (1999), for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Her other credits incude “X-Men” (2000) and its sequels “X2 “(2003) and “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006); Bond girl Jinx in “Die Another Day” (2002); “Gothika” (2003); “Cloud Atlas” (2012), “The Call” (2013) “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014), “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017) and “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (2019), to name a few. She was formerly married to baseball player David Justice, singer-songwriter Eric Benét, and actor Olivier Martinez. She has a child each with Martinez and model Gabriel Aubry.
Here is what Oscar and Emmy-award winning actress, and now director, Halle Berry had to say about directing “Bruised,” receiving two-broken ribs, and being a woman of color in Hollywood.
ON THE NETFLIX DEAL ANNOUNCEMENT
[The Netflix agreement] is a real thrill. The movie is still not a finished product, and that’s why I can’t stress enough the importance of film festivals, especially this Toronto festival.
ON THE JOURNEY
When I first read the script three or four years ago, it was written with a 25-30-year-old, Irish-Catholic girl.
ON EXPERIENCING TWO BROKEN RIBS
I didn’t want to stop because I had prepared for so long. We had rehearsed; we were ready. So my mind, my director’s mind, was just — keep going. And I compartmentalized that, and I just kept going: ‘I’m not going to stop. I’ve come too far. I’m going to act as if this isn’t hurting. I’m going to will myself through it.’ And so we did.
ON FEELING NERVOUS ABOUT HER DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
I was scared shitless. Every director that I’ve talked to that I’ve ever known have [all] told me the [same] and having fear. And if you’re not having any sense of worry, I don’t think you care, I don’t think you want to do your best. While I worked on movies for 30 years, I wasn’t behind the camera, but I trusted that I’d be able to do that. But you just need to create, create, and create. That is power.
ON CAREER CHALLENGES
Not unlike most young girls, I had hardship growing up. I grew up in an environment where I didn’t always fit in. But I knew I was full of substance and full of stories to tell. And I knew that I had to somehow find a way to sort of get other people outside of seeing me in this shell
WHAT TYPE OF CHARACTERS ATTRACT YOU?
You know I’m always most drawn to characters who are fractured, broken, who are fighting to survive. Every time I get to play those roles, I get to have a cathartic experience and I get to have some healing for myself.
ON WHICH FILM LEFT THE GREATEST IMPRESSION AND WHY
I get asked this question a lot. And the truth is, that I look at all of my films like children. Every single one of them has left their impression. Even the film that seemed like failures or they weren’t the films that most people talk about. I’ve learned something really valuable on every film set that I walked on. I’ve learned something valuable from every character that I’ve brought to life. I’ve learned something valuable from every director that I’ve worked with. So every experience to me has had great value, so to choose what was more valuable than the next is like saying which kid do I love more? My daughter or my son? Not possible. I love them all the same. And, all of my films have brought me something wonderful that was part of my growth and other mission as an artist and most importantly as a woman. So … I can’t answer that by saying one. They have all been a part of my journey.
ON WINNING THE OSCAR FOR “MONSTERS BALL”
Every time when Oscar time comes round, I get reflective and I think maybe this year, maybe this year, and it’s heartbreaking that other women haven’t stood there. https://bit.ly/2FgtN6r
ON WHY SHE DIRECTED THE FILM
I’d been thinking about directing, but I thought this was too big of a role, and star in this big role but I was encouraged by a friend. Once I embraced that concept, I had to go to the producers and pitch myself as the director. And to my surprise, they said yes.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FILM FESTIVALS
I can’t stress enough, the importance of festivals, and especially this festival [TIFF].
To learn more go to https://www.instagram.com/halleberry/?hl=en — TIFF (@TIFF_NET) · Twitter — #bruisedthemovie on Twitter