News for 3/10/2005

Berry's career purrs along nicely

By William Keck

HOLLYWOOD — With Catwoman finally dead and buried under 6 feet of kitty litter, Halle Berry is ready to get serious again in Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God.

The TV movie, based on the popular Zora Neale Hurston novel and airing Sunday (9 p.m. ET/PT) on ABC, could land Berry back on an award show stage, and we don't mean the Razzies.

Berry's resurrection began last Saturday, when the 38-year-old Oscar winner helped euthanize her Cat-astophe for good by attending those dubious awards, where Catwoman earned Berry the trophy for worst actress of the year. Meowww!

At Wednesday's Watching God premiere, executive producer Oprah Winfrey admitted she caught Berry in Catwoman and felt "it wasn't her best choice." But she applauded the actress's bold move to face her critics at the Razzies.

"That was the best decision ever," said Winfrey, who came dressed in a pale pink Gianfranco Ferre pantsuit. "Now nobody can say another darn thing. I'd like to say I told her to do it."

Also pretty in pink was Berry, in a dress designed by John Galliano. She said she chose the gown because it reminded her of what her 1920s Watching God character — the spiritual and sensual Janie Crawford — might wear were she alive today. "It's very flowy, and there's something feminine about it," she said.

In the movie, Michael Ealy plays the last of Berry's three husbands, who proves to be her true love. Although the two walked the carpet separately, they are reportedly involved in real life. Ealy says they were able to keep their private lives private during the Florida shoot, which is the way they like it. "Halle and I had really tight security, so we didn't have any problems," he said. "She taught me how to be a star and still be gracious."

Berry's decision to attend the Razzies was a no-brainer. "The day I heard I won," she recalled, "I thought, 'Oh, great! I'm going to get a nice dress and pick it up myself!' " While friends and confidants advised her against it, Berry "never had a second thought about going and making fun of those who made fun of me. It was wonderful. Life is eternal new beginnings."

She hasn't yet received her Razzie because she gave it back to her presenters, requesting they have it engraved. Once she gets it back, the small golden berry probably will land on Berry's kitchen table.

Berry and Winfrey were at the Academy Awards watching Jamie Foxx win his best-actor Oscar for playing Ray Charles. With biopics hotter than ever, Winfrey knows it's only a matter of time before someone attempts to tackle her rags-to-riches tale. But she won't be the one producing that film. "It would be too self-serving," she said.

Berry, however, would very much like to produce The Oprah Winfrey Story, with another actress cast as the big O. "I don't think I could play Oprah, because I'm a bit too close to her," she said. "And I think Oprah needs to be a lot older before anyone can play her."

Instead of her own life story, Winfrey, 51, announced plans to develop a film based on the life of Lena Horne, the 87-year-old Stormy Weather chanteuse who weathered racism and tragedy. (Another version was scrapped last year after Horne objected to the casting of Janet Jackson, who was then fresh off her Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction.")

"I'm working on it myself," said Winfrey, who has been spending a lot of time working in L.A. and has opted to stay in the home of close pal Quincy Jones. "That is a life that deserves to be depicted on screen, a life the rest of America deserves to know about."

Though Winfrey has been talking with her agent, Kevin Huvane, about getting back into acting, don't expect Winfrey to cast herself as Horne. "Absolutely not," said Winfrey, who's envisioning Alicia Keys in the role.

"I know what I can do and what I can't. The role calls for a light-skinned, long-haired, really pretty girl — and I know that's what I ain't."

News for 2/27/2005

The following article appeared in the March 14, 2005 issue of People Magazine

Berry Shows Up to Claim Her Razzie

Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - Hoisting her Academy Award in one hand and newly won Razzie in the other, Halle Berry reveled in a career low point. "Omigosh, oh my God," Berry gasped, feigning excitement. "I never in my life thought that I would be here, winning a Razzie. It's not like I ever aspired to be here, but thank you."

Berry was named worst actress Saturday night for 2004's action bomb "Catwoman," which also took the prize for worst film at the 25th annual Razzies, an Oscar spoof that trashes Hollywood's worst.

President Bush won the worst-actor award for his appearance in news and archival footage of Michael Moore's satiric documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was voted worst supporting-actor for "Fahrenheit 9/11," while Britney Spears' fleeting cameo in the documentary brought her the worst supporting-actress award.

Razzies founder John Wilson said the prizes were not meant to mock Moore's film, only the statements Bush and the others make while "putting their highly paid, highly skilled feet in their mouths repeatedly and sucking on them."

Berry, one of several Oscar-winning actors to be dishonored by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, was the first actor to accept a Razzie in person since Tom Green did so for his part in 2001's "Freddy Got Fingered."

Berry, who wore a simple black dress, explained why she showed up at the ceremony.

"When I was a kid, my mother told me that if you could not be a good loser, then there's no way you could be a good winner," she said.

However, she added, "I hope to God I never see these people again!"

Schwarzenegger, who gave up Hollywood to become California governor, was chosen worst Razzie loser of the first 25 years, a special prize given to actors who received the most nominations without ever winning a Razzie. His latest loss also came Saturday, to Rumsfeld in the supporting category, in which Schwarzenegger was nominated for "Around the World in 80 Days."

Chosen by about 675 voters, Razzies also were awarded for worst films of the group's first 25 years: Drama, "Battlefield Earth"; comedy, "Gigli"; and musical, "From Justin to Kelly."

Other 2004 Razzies went to "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" for worst sequel and "Catwoman" for worst director (Pitof) and screenplay.

Wilson relishes savaging perpetual winners such as Sylvester Stallone and Madonna. In the case of Berry, Wilson felt sympathy, saying "Catwoman" was simply the result of a misguided career move.

"Don't get us wrong. She's a very talented actress, a very beautiful woman, who just made a mistake," he said. "We're not trashing Halle Berry as a human being. We're only saying, we're so sorry you chose to do this."

News for 2/21/2005

The following article appeared in the January 21, 2005 issue of Entertainment Weekly Magazine

News for 2/17/2005

Berry & Forster Reteaming on Nefertiti Film

Source: Production Weekly

Monster's Ball director Marc Forster and star Halle Berry are planning to reteam on the story of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, the wife of the great Pharaoh Akhenaten who achieved status similar to that of her husband.

Production Weekly says a script is currently being commissioned with shooting scheduled to begin by early 2006.

Forster will first direct the comedy Stranger Than Fiction, with Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson, and Queen Latifah. Filming on that project starts mid-April in Chicago.

It is unknown at this time whether or not Berry will return as Storm for X-Men 3, which is expected to start shooting this summer.

News for 2/2/2005

Halle Berry to Make Oscar Show Appearance

Source: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Academy Award®–winning actress Halle Berry will be a presenter for the 77th Academy Awards® Presentation, producer Gil Cates announced today.

Berry won an Oscar at the 74th Academy Awards for her leading role in Monster's Ball. Her other film credits include Die Another Day, Swordfish, X-Men, X2: X-Men United, Bulworth, Losing Isaiah, The Flintstones, Strictly Business, and Jungle Fever.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2004 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®. The Oscars will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST, beginning with a half-hour arrivals segment.

News for 1/24/2005

Halle Berry Still Hunts for Roles

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Winning the Academy Award doesn't mean you're suddenly bombarded with offers for great movie roles, says Halle Berry.

The best thing to happen to her in the week after winning the best actress award was a phone call from Oprah Winfrey, asking her to play a part in "Their Eyes Were Watching God." The movie, a Winfrey production, appears on ABC this spring.

"The struggle for a woman of color to find good material is still very present, and it's a struggle I fight every day," Berry told reporters Sunday. "I think women have a hard time finding good material, in general, be you black, white or sky blue, pink."

Developing her own projects or personally acquiring the movie rights to books she likes is probably the best way to develop these roles. Berry said she has four in the works right now.

"I just sort of sift through the other stuff that comes my way and try to make the best out of what comes to me, but it's going to be about making my own reality, really," she said.

News for 1/16/2005

The following article appeared in the December 2004 issue of InStyle Magazine

News for 1/10/2005

Halle Berry Takes All in Divorce

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - "Catwoman" star Halle Berry has landed on her feet in her divorce from singer Eric Benet.

"She gets to keep the house they lived in, there was no spousal support," says "Celebrity Justice" Executive Producer Harvey Levin. "There were rumblings he was going to challenge the prenuptial agreement. He didn't do that. The bottom line is, he didn't get one cent from her."

Benet filed papers -- that apparently went nowhere -- in June challenging the couple's prenuptial agreement, requesting that Berry pay Benet's legal fees and spousal support.

Berry and Benet met in 1999 while celebrating the premiere of Berry's HBO movie "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" and married in January 2001. The couple publicly separated in October 2003 over irreconcilable differences. Berry, 38, has admitted that Benet, 34, had been unfaithful to her due to a sexual addiction. Berry filed for divorce in April last year.

This is the second failed marriage for the actress, who divorced Cleveland Indians outfielder David Justice in 1996. Benet has a daughter from a previous relationship.

The Oscar-winning actress has apparently moved on, dating "Too Fast Too Furious" actor Michael Ealy, with whom she co-starred in the TV adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God." She'll next be heard on the big screen as the voice of Cappy in the animated "Robots" and is currently filming the psychic thriller "The Guide."

News for 11/23/2004

'Perfect' casting

Michael Fleming,

(Variety) — Revolution Studios has set Halle Berry to star in "Perfect Stranger," a psychological thriller about a woman who goes undercover to investigate a friend's murder. Todd Komarnicki has been brought on to rewrite a script originated by Jon Bokenkamp. Frank Rinzulli did the first rewrite.

The deal was made by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Gotham-based Revolution Studios partner and head of its New York office. Deborah Schindler is exec producing.

Goldsmith-Thomas and Schindler most recently produced the Revolution pics "Little Black Book," "Mona Lisa Smile" and "Maid in Manhattan."

"Halle is a wonderful actress and we are excited to be able to work with her," Goldsmith-Thomas said.

Berry, who won the Oscar for "Monsters Ball," last toplined "Catwoman."

News for 9/30/2004

The following article appears in the September 2004 issue of InStyle Magazine

News for 9/13/2004

Lisa Loomer Rewriting Nappily Ever After

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Screenwriter Lisa Loomer will rewrite the script for Halle Berry starrer Nappily Ever After for Universal and studio-based Marc Platt.

The film, based on Trisha Thomas' novel and to be directed by Patricia Cardoso, follows a black woman's journey to self-discovery. On an impulse, the main character -- an advertising exec tired of fussing with her long and processed straight hair -- shaves it off and kicks out her commitment-phobic boyfriend. Discovering a newfound freedom, she is unprepared for how friends and co-workers react to her new hairdo and subsequent new life.

Tina Chism also wrote a draft of the screenplay.

The following interview appeared in the August 2004 issue of Harper's Bazaar Magazine

News for 8/25/2004

The following article appeared in the August 2, 2004 issue of Newsweek Magazine

News for 8/9/2004

The following article appeared in the August 2004 issue of Ebony Magazine

The following article appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of Biography Magazine

News for 7/21/2004

Berry Claws Her Way Into Superhero Fold

AP Movie Writer

LOS ANGELES - There's a new love in Halle Berry's life, and yes, it's one of those Hollywood romances between co-stars. The two met on the set of her latest movie, "Catwoman."

Berry describes her new guy as plump and pliable, with a bushy mane of orange hair. She calls him Play-doh.

The funny thing is, Berry never cared much for Play-doh's species before she met him.

"I used to be a dog person. I had dogs my whole life. And in making this movie, I learned to really respect and love cats from the research and work I did with them," Berry told The Associated Press in an interview to promote "Catwoman," adapted from the DC Comics character that originated in the "Batman" series.

That research involved taking home one of the roughly 60 cats the producers rescued from shelters to use in the movie, a long-haired feline seated to Berry's left in a "Catwoman" scene with co-star Frances Conroy and a living room full of other cats.

Berry figured it was a temporary fling, a relationship of professional convenience. She would keep the tabby around only long enough to help hone her own feline mystique and capture the cat's movements and demeanor.

"I studied him very much thinking, I'm going to study him and give him back, but I fell so in love in like, one week, that I'm now a cat person," Berry said. "I couldn't imagine my life without him. ...

"I always thought they were majestic and beautiful and sexy and sleek. Mysterious. But I've always lived with people who had allergies to cats, so I never could entertain the idea of getting one, because I would have been living alone. And now that I do live alone, it's a great time to get a cat."

Berry, who turns 36 next month, split last fall from singer Eric Benet, her husband of three years. Of her pending divorce, Berry said, "It's in the process," declining to say more.

Steady work has been a solace for Berry, who was lifted to Hollywood's A-list with her best-actress Academy Award for 2001's somber drama "Monster's Ball."

Last year, she reprised her role as superhero Storm in the blockbuster sequel "X2: X-Men United" and starred in the horror tale "Gothika," a modest box-office success. Those roles followed Berry's kick-butt turn as an American agent in the 2002 James Bond adventure "Die Another Day."

Berry just filmed the TV movie "Their Eyes Were Watching God," a drama based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston. And she provides one of the voices for next year's animated sci-fi comedy "Robots," from the director of "Ice Age."

This fall, Berry hopes to film another heavyweight drama, "October Squall," about a woman who chooses to raise a child resulting from her rape, though she's "torn between how she feels about this kid who reminds her of the worst day of her life and the man she loathes," Berry said.

The actress said she is determined to maintain a broad mix of roles, including a romantic comedy she's developing called "Nappily Ever After," about a woman who finds she must redefine herself among acquaintances after cutting her long hair into a tight afro.

"How many Oscar winners just fall off into obscurity? It's like they get the Oscar curse, and I was determined not to have the Oscar curse hit me," Berry said. "Winning the Academy Award was just the beginning for me, for my career and all the fun and meaningful and deep and lighthearted things I want to play."

A former beauty queen, Berry worked as a model before breaking into acting with roles on TV's "Knots Landing" and in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" in 1991. Her later films included "The Flintstones," "Losing Isaiah" and "Bulworth.

The title role in 1999's TV movie "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" earned Berry an Emmy.

Berry said "Catwoman" was her most physically challenging role. Playing in the "X-Men" ensemble and in a supporting role to Pierce Brosnan in the Bond flick provided good training before taking on her own action lead, she said.

Catwoman was played by Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar in the 1960s TV series "Batman," by Lee Meriwether in the 1966 feature-film that show spawned, and by Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton's 1992 sequel "Batman Returns."

Growing up, Berry had been a fan of the TV show, but she tried to put previous takes on Catwoman out of her mind.

"I knew what sort of iconic character this was, but I also felt like so many different women had incarnated her through the years that I felt there was room for another version," Berry said. "Each woman brought her strengths to it to make it her own, and I thought, well, that'll be what I have to try to do, to see how I can somehow make it my own."

Purists will grouse over changes the movie makes to Catwoman. In the comic books, she grew up in an orphanage and used her natural acrobatic talents to become queen of the thieves in Batman's Gotham City. Though she sometimes did the right thing, the comic-book Catwoman usually was cast as a villain.

The new movie casts Berry as a mousy artist at a cosmetics conglomerate who gains super agility and strength courtesy of some devilry worked by an ancient Egyptian cat. Torn between doing good and giving into her lusty feline desires, Berry's Catwoman ends up behaving heroically as she seeks revenge against her corrupt bosses.

"But if there's a sequel," Berry said, "I would bet my life on it that you'd see Catwoman walking a little more on the darker side."

Berry said she hopes "Catwoman" succeeds financially so she can do at least one sequel. She said she does not know if she will be back for a third "X-Men" movie, and a proposed spinoff for her Bond character is looking less likely.

Harsh early reaction to the movie indicates critics will be coming at "Catwoman" with claws out. Yet good or bad, the movie has drawing cards that could lift it to box-office success despite bad reviews.

There's Berry's star power, and the legions of comic-book fans who will show up to see how the filmmakers adapted another of their icons from page to screen. A sizable chunk of the male audience also may turn out just to see the gorgeous Berry prowling in her skimpy leather cat suit.

"That's an awesome thing," Berry said, adding that the suit is just part of the show. "It's a visual spectacle. It's a summer, popcorny, fun-ride movie. Nothing more, nothing less. I believe it delivers that. It's a great ride, it's fun, it's tongue-in-cheek.

"And it's perfect for kids. The suit is the sexiest thing about the whole movie. There's not too much violence, there's no blood, there's no sex, there's no harsh language. We made sure of all of that when we were shooting to make this accessible to 9-year-olds and 29-year-olds."