When a publicist walks into a conference room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and announces, "We have Halle Berry," you feel like you should clap. After all, for the way Berry looks at 40--hell, even if she was 20--we'd be willing to applaud.
However, we weren't there to clap. We were there for a small round-table interview with Berry about her new flick, "Perfect Stranger." Berry plays a reporter who, after quitting her job, goes undercover at an ad agency to try to sniff out the boss (Bruce Willis), who she suspects killed her old friend. Of course, that doesn't stop the exec and the employee from engaging in a little online flirting and out-of-office seduction.
Looking drop-dead gorgeous, Berry talked to us about secrecy between spouses, misconceptions about her career and a woman's right to change her mind.
Why are people more casual about what they say on the Internet or through text messages?
It's so easy to [detach from what you write]. I wanted to throw my Blackberry out the window yesterday. Somebody texted me something and I was like, "Now I know if they had me on the phone, they would not be saying this to me right now!" You don't really have to take responsibility for it immediately when you type things. And for that reason I'm really contemplating getting rid of [my Blackberry].
Will you feel the same way tomorrow?
I don't know, but I'm a woman, I have a right to change my mind! Maybe not, but today it's how I'm feeling!
What made you want to throw it out the window?
[Laughs] I don't think that's a good idea.
What attracted you to "Perfect Stranger"?
I responded to [the character] probably because she embodied many of the things that I love to watch in women. She was vulnerable yet deeply troubled and somewhat tortured in a way, but she had this insatiable desire to get her power back and not be a victim.
What pressure was on you before doing "Monster's Ball," and was there more pressure after winning an Oscar for the performance?
Everybody told me, "Don't do it. You're going to ruin your career. You're getting no money, it's a little movie, it's a first-time director, you've gotta be nude. You just did 'Dorothy Dandridge.' We want you to be our Black Beacon of ...you know. 'Don't do it, don't do it!'" And I said, "No, I'm gonna do it. If I'm going to go down, I'm going to go down doing what I believe in and doing what I want to do." And that's how I've approached my career since Oscar.
Who should be more unsettled during "Perfect Stranger": people in relationships, or executives wondering what employees are doing behind their back?
This movie should make most people uneasy on some level or another because really what this is about is people having secrets and that nobody really is who they say they are. And you can look at everybody you meet in life--be it your husband, be it your work colleague, be it the man at the grocery store, be it the bus driver--everybody puts on one face, but who are they really? When they go home, when they're all alone, what kind of stuff are they doing? Is it creepy? Is it not creepy? Who are they really? What do they do?
As if people aren't already paranoid enough.
Well, this will make them more paranoid! [Laughs]
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times