How Halle Berry channeled her childhood trauma in directorial debut, ‘Bruised’

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Halle Berry details how intergenerational trauma informed the way she approached “Bruised”; why she has “great compassion” for people struggling to get it right; and how she had to fight for roles even after becoming the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for best actress nearly 20 years ago.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Hi, I’m Yvonne Villarreal.

MARK OLSEN: And I’m Mark Olsen. You’re listening to The Envelope, The L.A. Times podcast where we dive in deep with top talent in TV and film. Today’s guest is the Hollywood icon Halle Berry. She’s had an astonishing career. I hardly know where to begin.

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YVONNE VILLARREAL: Well, let me help you out here. I mean, for me, I go straight to “B.A.P.S.” I mean, people are still dressing up as Nisi for Halloween. One of my personal favorites is “Losing Isaiah,” like seeing her act opposite Jessica Lange and really holding her own. It’s something to behold. But what films stand out to you, Mark?

MARK OLSEN: Well, I always think of “Bulworth,” this sort of political satire that she made with Warren Beatty. And then in her 30-plus years in this business now, she’s become a part of such, you know, legendary franchises like James Bond or “X-Men,” she was in one of the recent John Wick films. And then, of course, there’s also “Monster’s Ball,” for which she became the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for best actress.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: Yeah, I mean, that was such a memorable moment. I mean, the crying, the dress. I could watch it again and again.

MARK OLSEN: I mean, that moment figures prominently at the new Academy Museum. It’s not just a highlight for Halle’s career, but I think in Hollywood history, the history of the Academy Awards. And you know, I think now we’re having something of a reappraisal of Halle’s career. She’s someone that I think it’s been so easy to take for granted because she’s been working at such a consistent level for so long now. And so today we’re really talking about where Halle is and her life and career now. She just made her directorial debut with “Bruised,” which she also stars in. In the film, Halle plays Jackie Justice, a down-on-her-luck mixed martial artist who decides to give fighting another try after reuniting with her estranged young son. And we talk about the personal connection that Halle felt to her character and how her own experiences with abuse and trauma helped her bring heart and compassion to the film, which has some real dramatic weight to it, as well as some very intense fight scenes.

[Archival clip from “Bruised”: sound of a fight scene]

MARK OLSEN: This is not really the most glamorous of roles. And then you spend much of the film, either kind of bruised and bloodied or sort of hiding under a hat. How meaningful was it — how intentional was it that in making your directorial debut, you were in this way physically transformed and somewhat even unrecognizable?

HALLE BERRY: It was so intentional. And I say that because I’ve spent my career trying to get around my physical self. You know, I started modeling and then beauty pageants — like, I had a different path coming to my career and I’ve spent my career proving that I am more than this physical shell that I walk around in. And I’ve had so many debates with directors starting with Spike Lee. When I wanted to play Viv the crackhead in his movie, I remembered him saying, “But you don’t look like a crackhead.” And I would argue, “But what does a crackhead look like?” You know, I remember “Monster’s Ball.” Lee Daniels said, “But you don’t look like this downtrodden character. You don’t look like her.” And I’m like, “Well, what does she look like?” You know? So to direct my own self and to direct a film and put myself as an artist out in the world the way I would want to be seen, it would have to be this. Where I could strip away my looks. I could just focus on my craft. And the more effed up I looked the better for the character. I woke up every morning. Look like shit today? Great, let’s use it. And it was very freeing to just rely on my acting and to rely on the craft and not have the physical part of myself be distracting in any way.

HALLE BERRY: This script was the first script that my agents gave to me when I switched from one agency to another. And they primarily gave me the script, I think initially just to get a temperature check on was this the kind of role and character I was looking to play. So when they gave it to me, of course, I said, “I love this. This is exactly the kind of film I want to do.” It’s meaty, it’s gritty. It is about mixed martial arts, MMA, which I absolutely love. So I said, “Absolutely, this is what I want to do.” Except it was actually in the hands of another actress. Blake Lively had it, and she was set to star in this role. And because it was with Blake it also wasn’t written for someone like me. It was written for a very young 20-something-year-old Irish Catholic white girl, which obviously wasn’t something I could play. But they told me if Blake ultimately passes, then we would love to get you a stab at it and go meet the producer and sort of make your pitch for how you could play it. So she took about six months to decide. And in that six months, I passionately reimagined what the story could be for a middle-aged Black woman. And when she passed, then I got the green light to go to the producer Basil Iwanyk and make my big pitch as to how I would change the story. And he … he bought it.

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MARK OLSEN: And now, on the one hand, I think the differences between those two versions of this story are kind of obvious. But also what … what did it mean to you to be making those changes? How for you did the story change in having it go from a white 20-something Irish Catholic woman to a middle-aged Black woman?

HALLE BERRY: Well, right away, it would have to be set in a whole new world, you know. And I wanted to set it in an urban Black inner city. And I wanted to, you know, talk about the culture that breeds fighters. And most fighters come from not middle class, but just below middle class. Many fighters actually fight to get out of poverty. They’re fighting for a better life. So I had to set it in a world that felt really true. And by changing the fighter from a young white fighter to a middle-aged Black fighter, what that said to me was this was about a woman fighting for a last chance, not another chance. And when you’re 21 and you fail and you get another chance, that’s inspiring, sure. But it’s even more inspiring and I thought more relatable for someone fighting for a last chance. The stakes were higher.

MARK OLSEN: As you said, you helped to sort of rework, redevelop the screenplay and then you got involved in meeting a number of directors trying to figure out who was going to take this job. And ultimately, you made the film yourself. And I’m wondering, what was it that you were looking for? What you weren’t getting from them? And why did it have to be you that directed this movie?

HALLE BERRY: Well, partly these directors didn’t get it — it was kind of unfair because this idea of how I reimagined it hadn’t yet been put to paper. It was just in my mind how I would change all of these characters, what the world actually was. And they didn’t see it like I saw it.

Some of them loved the drama part, and they wanted it to be that. “But does it have to really be about a fight?” You know? “Is the fight really necessary? Can we just make this a drama about these fractured, broken characters?”

And then some would say, “I love the fight, but I don’t care about the drama. Like, let’s just make it a fight movie.” And I desperately needed this movie to be about both.

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At the end of the day, I really felt like nobody loved all of it the way I loved all of it. And saw all of it, the way I saw all of it. And my really good friend Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas finally said to me one day when I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a filmmaker that saw it like I did. She said, “Well, you love it. You speak about it with so much clarity and so much passion. Why don’t you do it?” And I really thought she was high when she first — I’m like, “Are you high? Like, there’s no way I can’t have my debut be with a character that’s this large, like, no.” And after thinking on that a few nights, you know, I realized that the only thing that was stopping me was my own fear and that I should just get out of my way. And I should do it.

[Archival clip from “Bruised”: sound of opening montage.

MMA Announcer: You don’t think women can fight? I’m calling B.S.]

MARK OLSEN: There really are so many classic fight films. I mean, from “Raging Bull” all the way up to “Creed.” And in the opening of “Bruised,” it’s from your character’s POV as she’s really getting pummeled.

[Archival clip from “Bruised”:

MMA Announcer: Thirty seconds in and Justice is taking a beating.]

MARK OLSEN: How did you sort of come up with the specific grammar of how to shoot the MMA fighting in in “Bruised?” Because it’s a real challenge for any director, especially for someone who’s, you know, directing their first film?

HALLE BERRY: Well, I love the genre so much. I’ve seen almost every movie made in the genre, so I felt like I was versed in fight movies and I took from things that I loved that I had seen that really impacted me. You know, “Raging Bull” is one of my favorites. The opening was an homage to that. There’s some homages in there to the original “Rocky.” There are some homages to “The Wrestler.” It’s in the gritty world of “The Wrestler.” And, you know, shooting fight movies in that gritty way and Steadicam and where the camera is also a character really serves these kinds of movies really well. I think it gives the viewer a sense that they’re right in the room, that they’re right with the characters, you know? So it’s just years of watching these movies. I just recalled what I loved, what moved me as a viewer.

[Archival clip from “Bruised”:

MMA Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen! Jackie Pretty Bull Justice!]

MARK OLSEN: As you said, you kind of are a longtime fight fan, you know, especially when you were younger. What was the appeal of that? Like, what did you like about watching boxing or or MMA?

HALLE BERRY: I was a latchkey kid. My father left when I was very young. And, you know, I was a interracial kid — had a white mother and a Black father. And my father was absent and I was looking to find a part of myself to identify with. And boxing was my favorite thing to do. To watch these strong Black men … I realize now as an adult, I was really missing my dad. I was missing that figure. Him, my father in my family. And Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard. They, in a strange way, took on that sort of father figure to me in the sense that they felt strong. Boxing felt so noble to me when I was a little girl, there was honor to that and I would imagine that one of these men would be my father. You know, and what my life would be like if I had a strong man like that sort of at the helm of our family. Like all these things that as little girls you wish you had. And it was my favorite pastime to watch all by myself. It was my secret passion that I’d watch every chance I got.

MARK OLSEN: I’ve heard you say that among the few people you showed the movie to early on were both Spike Lee and Warren Beatty, two filmmakers that you’ve worked with. And they seem like such different filmmakers. I have to ask, what kind of notes did you get from Spike and Warren? And was it ever hard to decide which of them to listen to?

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HALLE BERRY: Well, that’s the reason I showed it to two very different people and who approached filmmaking differently. I wanted two ends of the spectrum. Spike had his ideas of like, what I could do without. Warren gave me ideas of what he thought I needed that weren’t in the film yet. And some of the ideas I listened to, some of them, you know, I had to honestly remember why I chose to make the movie. And I wanted to tell a story from a female gaze and have a female point of view. And here I was talking to two men that I wildly respected. And while I took some of their advice, I didn’t take the parts of the advice that started to infringe on the female perspective, because that was the whole reason for telling the story. And some of the parts that they didn’t get. I said, “You don’t get it because from a male perspective, this makes no sense to you.” But that’s why women need to start telling our own stories so that we can offer you something different from a different perspective.

MARK OLSEN: Because another theme in the film along with the fighting is this is a story of motherhood as your character Jackie sort of unexpectedly finds herself caring again for a son that she had given up. And as a mother yourself, did you draw from personal experiences in the film? Like how did you sort of approach that theme of motherhood in the movie?

HALLE BERRY: Of course. And I think, you know, being a mother, I had a lot to draw from. I understand what motherhood is all about, but I also understood — which was also a really important thing for me for this film — I understand generational trauma. And one of the things I discovered when I started to do my research about why women fight ... so many women fight because they’re fighting to get their power back. They’re fighting to be heard. They’re fighting for a voice that they felt like they lost. And as we know throughout history, women have been marginalized in many different ways and feel powerful in their body. So I knew that this idea of generational trauma had to be a part of this story in some way. And that’s what Jackie and her mother character Angel represent for me.

[Archival clip from “Bruised”:

Angel: Tell me, what kind of bullshit you serving today?

Jackie: Oh, you know what the question is? What kind of bullshit was you serving to yourself when your baby girl was back there in that room being raped?

Angel: Raped?

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Jackie: Raped. By all your boyfriends coming in and out of that room. And your nasty ass brother Dexter too.

Angel: Dexter paid the rent.

Jackie: No, I paid the rent with my ass and my mouth and all my private parts.

Angel: Liar!]

MARK OLSEN: Can you tell me more about this notion of generational trauma and how you take what — in some ways — sounds like an abstract idea and sort of really try to bring it out in this very, you know, gritty rooted story about MMA fighting?

HALLE BERRY: Well, what I know about generational trauma is, you know, especially let’s take the Black community. You think back to slavery. Women, Black women had to watch their children ripped away from them and sold off. That’s traumatizing to the mother and that’s traumatizing to the child. I can’t imagine my children ripped from me today, sold to other states and gone into slavery. And I never see these children that I inextricably have a bond with because I carried them in my body, right? That mother is traumatized forever and that child is traumatized. So that child then goes on and has her own children. But now she’s operating out of place of trauma because she was never really loved and nurtured the way children need to be. So now she’s trying to mother a child, but she’s going to repeat that trauma and pass down that legacy of abuse in some ways, because that’s all she knows. So that’s the story I was telling with the Jackie and her mother, Angel story. Angel wasn’t a bad person. She was just traumatized from her mother, who was traumatized by her mother. And the cycle will keep continuing until somebody — and I want to hope at the end of this movie, we believe that Jackie Justice is going to break that cycle and do better. And by confronting her mother with her trauma, by confronting her mother with the abuse in her childhood was one step towards healing and breaking the cycle. And these are things that are taboo that we don’t talk about. But this is the female gaze that I wanted to make this movie with. It’s very female. It’s very much what we know is real for us, but we don’t often talk about it. And I wanted to talk about it.

MARK OLSEN: You’ve talked in the past about your own experiences with domestic violence. And I’m wondering how did those experiences impact the way you approach some of those scenes in the movie?

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HALLE BERRY: It viscerally impacts me. I’ve seen this. I grew up with a very abusive father who was alcoholic, very much like our Desi character. I know that man. That could have been my father or my uncles. You know, I’ve seen it. But what I also know about these people is they’re not bad people. They’re good people with bad problems. They’re hurt people. And when you live in an inner city and you don’t have access to mental health, which many people in the inner cities don’t have. One, they can’t afford it. And two, they don’t believe in it. It’s just culturally how we’ve developed. And so you stay stuck in your dysfunction and you operate out of brokenness and out of fractured places. And that’s what I understand about alcoholism and drug addiction and abuse and domestic violence. It’s fractured people who are trying to survive, and they just don’t have the skills. They don’t know how. And this is what it looks like.

MARK OLSEN: Your understanding of this seems so evolved. How did you sort of come to this place that you’re in now? I’m sort of wondering how you sort of worked through those experiences to sort of become the Halle Berry you are today?

HALLE BERRY: A lot of therapy, and I say that most sincerely. When I was 10 years old, my mother saw that my father had become so abusive he was beating up my sister. He was beating up my mother. At one point he took our dog and he smashed our dog against the wall and our dog bit its tongue off. And blood was everywhere, and you couldn’t think of anything more traumatizing. And I remember I was the kind of kid that ran in the closet and hid. And I had a lot of guilt growing up because I saw what happened to my mother and our sister and our dog, and I was spared. But watching the abuse happen to the others, and feeling like I couldn’t do anything, or that I was afraid to do anything had me also traumatized in the same way. So my mother at 10 years old knew that I needed to get into some therapy. I needed to talk about what I had seen. Things that, you know, 10-year-olds shouldn’t have to see. And she was worried about how it would materialize in my life and what I would become after living through these kinds of experiences. And luckily, she had the forethought to get me some mental health so that I could process, you know, all of this that I was, being asked to experience at such a young age.

[Archival clip from “Bruised”: sound of smoke alarm and Desi screaming.]

MARK OLSEN: There’s a scene in the movie where Jackie’s boyfriend becomes angry with Manny, her son. And it seems like he’s about to hit the boy…

[Archival clip from “Bruised”: sound of Desi screaming.]

MARK OLSEN: And Jackie sort of jumps in to protect Manny…

[Archival clip from “Bruised”:

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Jackie Justice: “Look at me, Manny. I’m not gonna let that man hurt you. OK , I’m big and you’re little. And Big protects Little. OK? You hear me?”]

MARK OLSEN: What was it like for you as a performer to shoot a scene like that?

HALLE BERRY: I just wanted it to be as real and as true and as organic as that could be. I’ve seen that. I know this is how this happens, but I keep going back to — but I also know that guy is not a bad guy. You know, that guy didn’t sign up to be a father of a little kid. When he met this woman, she didn’t have a kid. And so this kid was threatening his dream for himself, right? So this is how it materialized in him. This is how it came out of him sideways. And when you’re also a substance abuser, you’re operating out of a different version of yourself. And I would argue, not your best self, right. So when you just service the story and you don’t make judgments on these characters — you just bring them to life —you’ve got a great chance of the audience discovering for themselves who these characters are and understanding why these characters might do these heinous things.

MARK OLSEN: I’m a little surprised to hear the level of compassion and understanding you have for Desi, in that scene, for your father in your life. I mean —

HALLE BERRY: Well, you know, I just fundamentally believe they’re just really not a lot of bad, bad people. You know? And I just had great compassion for people struggling in life to get it right. And being a Black woman who started how I started, I had to learn to have a lot of compassion for myself and my own growing, and that the only way I could be successful and learn to love myself was to really love my parents. And we just have been a family of broken people and it’s my job to break that cycle, if you will, with my children. And I’ve worked really hard to do that because the cycle’s got to stop somewhere, or it just continues.

MARK OLSEN: Did you see “Bruised” as an opportunity to explore and depict some of those experiences onscreen?

HALLE BERRY: Absolutely. There’s no mystery to me why I gravitated toward telling this story as a first-time director. The two pieces of advice that I got early on when I talked about being a director, it was find a subject that you know a lot about and that you love. Because you’re going to need to understand it fundamentally. And I know about this world. I know about abuse, domestic abuse. I know about drug addiction, alcoholism. I know about this community. I grew up in an inner city very much like the one I depict in the movie, because that’s what I know. That was real for me. I understand it. So, yeah, it was quite liberating to be able to put this story on the screen and see myself reflected knowing that others will see themselves reflected. Because, you know, growing up, I didn’t see this story. I didn’t see myself reflected in movies and in art this way.

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MARK OLSEN: And now the movie will already be streaming on Netflix by the time this conversation comes out, so I’m hoping you don’t mind talking just a little bit about the ending.

[Archival clip from “Bruised”:

Crowd cheers: “Justice! We love you, Justice!”]

MARK OLSEN: In sort of classic fight film fashion, Jackie loses a bow, but she really wins respect. She gets referred to as the people’s champion, and I’m just wondering what that ending meant to you and if that’s something maybe you recognize yourself? That sometimes you have to find the victory in defeat and find a way to move forward.

HALLE BERRY: Yeah, I’ve had to find a lot of victory and defeat. This is true. But I learned early on, you know, if you can’t be a good loser, then you don’t deserve to be a good winner. And I think that’s very, very true because more times than not in life, I think we lose. We don’t get what we want. Things don’t work out the way we want them to. That’s the cycle of life. That’s what life is about. I think we’re here to get all these lessons. So for me, how many people will win a championship belt, how many people will win a gold medal? But everybody’s fighting for something in life, right? Everybody’s fighting to be better. They’re fighting to be heard, to be seen, to be valued, to realize a dream. So by not winning, she wins the bigger prize, which is she gets her life. That she gets her confidence back. You know, she redeems herself. She gets the right back that she squandered in the beginning of the movie to be a mother. And that’s the greatest joy I think any woman could have. The gift to be a mother. And she got that back. You know? She earned it back. And I think that was the real win.

A headshot of Halle Berry with the words "The Envelope" on the right side
Halle Berry joins The Envelope podcast.
(Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

MARK OLSEN: To step back just a little and talk, maybe more broadly about your career. You’ve played such a wide variety of roles. I mean, from Dorothy Dandridge to James Bond, X-Men, John Wick. For you, what does that sort of, um — that versatility mean? And do you still feel that all of these varied characters, like — are they all in some way, some version of you?

HALLE BERRY: Yes, they’re also a version of me. I think as any actor, any character you play, it’s some version of you in there. You know, you’re the one bringing, breathing life into this character. We always use parts of ourselves to bring these characters to life, and they’re all inside of me. I just have always not wanted to be pigeonholed. I’ve not wanted to play just one kind of character, one kind of role. I’ve always wanted to challenge myself and take risks. You know, I believe if you don’t risk big, you’ll never win big. And that’s kind of how I’ve approached my career. And when I’ve given my all and it hasn’t worked out in my favor or not as I had hoped, I realize, “Well, this is life.” And life is largely about how we rebound from those situations, you know. We know what it’s like to win. It’s easy to win. What is it like when you don’t win, when you lose? How do you rebound from that? What do you do after that is really what defines your character

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MARK OLSEN: And then your Academy Award win in 2001 for your role in Monster’s Ball. Could you talk to me a little bit just about that moment? What was it like? Do you remember what you were thinking and feeling when they called your name?

HALLE BERRY: Well, I know I was thinking and feeling that I wasn’t going to win. And this is true because back then, think 20 years ago, the Golden Globe was the precursor for the Oscar. Whoever won the Golden Globe, 90% chance was going to win the Academy Award. And I didn’t win the Golden Globes. Sissy Spacek won the Golden Globe. So that night, my real hopes for winning and being the first Black woman to win an Academy Award kind of died that night. And I shifted into, “Well, you know what? You got this far. Be grateful you got this far and you’ll have other chances, hopefully. And this night will help others have a chance.” Like, that’s really what I was thinking in that moment. So when that actually happened. ... I don’t even remember what I was thinking. I don’t remember even walking up those steps. I only know I did it because I see the video. I only remember Russell Crowe looking at me and saying, “Breathe mate, breathe mate.” And that’s the last thing I have — first thing and the last thing I remember and I, I really was having an out-of-body. When I watch that speech and those things, I said, that was just a stream of consciousness. And some place during that speech, I remember looking in the crowd and I saw Denzel Washington and I saw my agent and I saw Sidney Poitier up in the bleachers somewhere, and I came back into my body and I thought, Oh my God, I actually won this thing. This is crazy. I won it. And then it. All of the emotion flushed over me that, that I had done that.

MARK OLSEN: You’ve been really open about the fact that it didn’t lead to the kind of opportunities that one might have expected. And I’m wondering how you dealt with that period where you got this great success, which should be sort of like the ultimate accomplishment in your field and what did it do for you? What for you sort of came out of winning that award?

HALLE BERRY: It was the ultimate accomplishment, and it is still one of my greatest moments. I couldn’t be prouder of that award, of that movie, of that performance and of that moment. And I did expect, “Oh wow, now things are going to be a little easier for me.” But the truth for me was the script truck didn’t back up to my back door. I didn’t now have all these opportunities laid at my feet. You know, and I was disappointed in the weeks that followed that things didn’t get easier. It was a great disappointment. But even that disappointment never took away of the achievement, and it didn’t take away the moment. And it also didn’t take away my fight. Maybe a couple of months after that I realized, “OK, nothing’s going to change. Got it. Back to work I go.” And that’s what I did. And I went back to work, always knowing that nobody could ever take that away from me. It was mine. I earned it. For that year, I was chosen. But it — I realized, but I’m going to have to keep working.

MARK OLSEN: I mean, the simple fact that no other Black woman has won that award in the 20 years since then, do you feel like Hollywood has changed in that time? I mean, particularly in the kind of roles that are offered for Black women? What do you make of the fact that that still in that time, no other Black woman has won that award?

HALLE BERRY: Well, I’ve … You know, really — yes. Do I think that mattered? It did. Black women are in movies now. They’re starring in movies now. Other women have been nominated. So I know that things are changing. And I tell people all the time. When people ask me this question I say, “Yes. Of course I’m heartbroken. Of course I want another woman of color to stand with me in that illustrious category. That would be amazing.” But also, if you ask me would I rather have an award or have an abundance of work, I would take the abundance of work because at the end of the day, that’s really what’s going to impact people the most. And as a Black woman now I can direct and tell a story from my point of view and put it in the world. That’s more important than winning an award. Having the opportunities to be working and telling stories and contributing to the art form. And I think we are doing that in a much greater way today than we were 20 years ago.

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MARK OLSEN: Were there many female filmmakers or women directors that you saw? Like, would you have imagined early in your career that you yourself would one day be directing?

HALLE BERRY: No, never. Back then I didn’t believe that women could. I think like many women, we have struggled with understanding what was possible for us and figuring out a way to even have that be possible. I mean, I was trying to just figure out a way to be an actor. You know, for a Black woman 30 years ago, there was really no way. I was forging a way out of no way. And I felt like, you know, being a director was just so far from what I ever thought possible.

HALLE BERRY: All I can say is when you’re so passionate about something, I can’t even tell you how I did it, really. I just knew I was driven by my passion and my desire to get this story out of my body. You know, I always thought so many times of what Maya Angelou said, that, you know, the greatest tragedy is bearing an untold story inside you. And that’s how it felt that I had to get this out. I had to do this thing that had possessed me, and I can’t really say how I did it other than I was determined to do it.

MARK OLSEN: That’s it from us here at The Envelope! I’m your host, Mark Olsen.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: And I’m Yvonne Villarreal. Don’t forget to follow the Envelope wherever you get your podcasts! And if you love what you hear, don’t forget to leave us a rating and review. It really helps people find the show.

MARK OLSEN: This episode was produced and edited by Asal Ehsanipour, Heba Elorbany and our executive producer Jazmin Aguilera. Our engineer and composer is Mike Heflin. Special thanks to Shani Hilton, Clint Schaff, Richard Hernandez, Gabby Fernandez, Chris Price, Amy Wong, Geoff Berkshire, Elena Howe and Matt Brennan.

YVONNE VILLARREAL: We’re back next week with another brand new episode. And when I tell you it’s gonna be a good one, please believe me. Hot off the series finale of “Insecure,” we’ll be speaking with Issa Rae. You know how to find us. See you next week.

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The Team

The Envelope podcast is hosted by Mark Olsen and Yvonne Villarreal; produced by Heba Elorbany and Asal Ehsanipour; edited by Heba Elorbany and Jazmín Aguilera; engineering and theme music by Mike Heflin; audience strategy by Samantha Melbourneweaver, Amy Wong, Chris Price, and Christina Schoellkopf; marketing by Richard Hernandez, Tova Weinstock, Patricia Gardiner, Brandon Sides and Dylan Harris. Special thanks to Shani Hilton, Clint Schaff, Matt Brennan, Geoff Berkshire, Elena Howe, Glenn Whipp and Daniel Gaines.