On Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Halle Berry was honored as one of ELLE’s Women in Hollywood for her most recent movie Bruised, which she directs and stars in. The Netflix film follows a mixed martial arts fighter training to get back into the sport while trying to regain custody of her son. Berry told ELLE that she met with around 12 filmmakers when searching for a director before realizing she was the best person for the job.
At the event, Berry delivered her acceptance speech, candidly calling her directorial debut “fucking hard” and thanking all the women—and men—who have supported her.
“I can’t tell you what it means to be in this room and feel our femininity because it’s palpable and it’s real,” Berry said. “By watching you, I’ve been able to dream….thank you ladies, we always have to reach back… we have to listen and learn from another perspective.”
Berry also took the opportunity to thank the men who have supported her in her career. “We have to take a minute to thank the men that are behind us,” she said. “Ever good woman has a good man behind her who knows she should lead the way.”
“Continue to forge your way forward and follow your north star to inspire all women around the world,” she concluded.
In her cover story for ELLE, Berry opened up about the challenges of working on Bruised, and why she identified with the movie’s plot.
“Fighting for the right to be is something that I know,” she says. “I started my career 30 years ago when Black women didn’t really have a prominent place in the industry, so I understand what it is to fight for what you believe in. I love stories that are about redemption, allowing people second chances—and in our case, last chances. I love knowing that we can all make mistakes and be forgiven.”
She said learning new skills as a first-time director was “one of the hardest things that I have ever done, and that I’ll probably ever do.”
“I don’t really think I will ever direct and act in a film in quite this way again,” Berry added. “It was a monster role. I had a lot of pressure.”
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