A/V Room









Catwoman - Halle Berry Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. You seem to have perfected the walk as 50% slink and 50% attitude, was that something you cultivated?
Thank you for that. Part of it came from studying cat movements and the whole costume was designed to show a little bit more of the body; not just to show skin, but to show the sinuinous of the cat, and probably show the movements a little bit better. So that walk was derived from just studying hours and hours of tapes of cats, and trying to move in sort of the way that cats would.

Q. How long did it take to do the cat-fight and did you hold anything back at all?
. That sequence took us about nine days to shoot, and it was pretty intense. We worked a lot with our doubles, because I really didn’t want to take Sharon’s teeth out [laughs]. I really, really didn’t. We’re really not trained to do that kind of thing, but Sharon and I both welcomed the idea of working with each other’s doubles, so that we could feel free to do the best we could. I think that’s sort of what freed me up to try and go further and try more and risk a lot of the stuff myself, because I knew I wasn’t going to hurt anyone, especially Sharon.

Q. Would people describe you as having feline grace, or do you err on the side of clutsiness in real life?
I think I’m a good mix of the two, which is why this was a perfect choice for me in terms of the character I play. I think there are times in my life when I can very much relate to who that Patience character was, feeling when I don’t quite fit in, feeling not to sure of myself, and there’s times when I’ve been as fierce as a tiger and held my ground and stood up for what I’ve believed in, you know, and overcome great adversity. So I’m a little bit of both of them.

Q. As a former model and the current spokesperson for Revlon, how on the button do you feel the film’s depiction of the cosmetics industry is? Is it that ruthless?
Obviously because I am a spokesman for Revlon [laughs], I’m not a fool! No, I think the movie is really not meant to be a slant on a cosmetics company, it’s meant to really depict what can happen to human beings within any company. It didn’t have to be a cosmetics company that Laurel and George Hedare worked for. It could have been any company, it was just sort of the corruption that goes on behind a company, and they chose a cosmetics company, and they chose to be using a cosmetic cream, because one of the themes of the movie was really to sort of blow open the fact that as women do start to age in life, we’ve been given this great burden of feeling like we have to search out the fountain of youth, or else we’re not accepted anymore, we’re not welcome, we’re not wanted, we’re not appreciated. I think that was the underlying theme. That was the message, and using a cosmetics company to use this cream to make women look younger longer was just a way for us to get that beat home. It really wasn’t about a cosmetics company. It wasn’t the company that was bad, but the individuals that worked for it.

Q. What is it about lotions, potions and cream? And do you think that the relationships that women have with their beauty is getting unhealthy?
I’m like the average mousey girl that could care less about that stuff in the movie and I think that my character is the ying to Sharon’s yang. I do think that we have become obsessed with beauty and that fountain of youth I mentioned earlier. Personally, I’m really saddened by the way in which women start to mutilate their faces today in search of that. In terms of getting plastic surgery and pulling themselves this way and that, it’s like a slippery slope. Once you start, you pull one thing one way, and you think, ‘oh God, now this looks wrong and you pull it that way’ and you start pulling again at the other side. And then you have this plastic-plastered copycat sort of face and that’s frightening for me, so I try to use my voice in any way that I can to say just what I’ve said right now. It’s really insane and I feel sad that this is what society is doing to women. And I think our movie sort of addresses that in a real subtle way. I mean it was a real popcorn eating, rip-roaring, hopefully visual spectacle, but there were little messages to be had if one wanted to see them. This was one, that women invest so much time and energy on their physical self, and go to such extremes, that what happens to Laurel Hedare is a metaphor for what is really going to happen to the rest of them.

Q. How do you think you compare with the Michelle Pfeiffer version of Catwoman?
I think we’re very different. Our story was very different from the world and the universe that Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman existed in.

Q. Was there ever a problem filming with all those cats in the scenes?
No, the cats were great. I mean I have to say, they’re like children and they get all the focus on the day that we shoot. But they were wonderful. I’m an animal lover, I even adopted one of the kitties from the movie, so it was great. And they were live cats, they were not CG cats, which was a nice element. So much in the movie we did things for real and the CG came in when it was really impossible to get things done, but Pitof really tried to use the real everything, all the time.

Q. What did your children think of you being Catwoman and did they get involved in any way?
Yes, mine were. But mine was a part of the entire process. When I was first offered the role, I went straight home and told her and she celebrated, because as a young woman, especially a woman of colour, even at the young age of 11, she knew the importance of that. And she knew how happy I was in return. She was thrilled because she would be able to see this image, a strong, powerful woman, because she was a fan of Batman, Superman and Spider-Man and now she’d get to see Catwoman in a real way.
She was really, really happy and inspired, and she loved the movie. I said to her, you know, ‘are you sure it’s not just because I’m your mum?’ And she said, ‘no’, she really, really enjoyed it.

Q. How much did Eartha Kitt’s portrayal of Catwoman influence you?
I had some sporadic images of all of the Catwoman of the past in my mind. But what I really didn’t want to do was go back and really revisit their performances, because I think the worst thing an actress can do is mimic or copy someone else. So I had it in my mind, sure, and I had Michelle Pfeiffer very much in my mind, because she was the last one, but I really wanted to take the script that we had before us, which was very different; she wasn’t in Gotham City, there was no Batman, there was no Joker, and wanted to take the script that I had before me and figure out who this Catwoman would be, within this universe, and bring my own self to it, and certainly not copy or mimic anyone else.

Q. How was the whip?
I think that the whip was very exciting, because everyone wanted to try it, and get the crack, when you break the sound barrier, and the whip is moving faster than the speed of light. Just that act alone makes you want to have a go, to see if you can make something move that fast. And I think everyone gave it a shot, and it’s very elusive, that whip, because you think it’s going to be easy, but it really doesn’t happen that way.

Q. What was your favourite comic book character as a kid? And which comic book character would you still like to play, perhaps?
I really didn’t grow up reading comic books. But as I came into my adult life I became more aware of them, but I have to say that I doubt I’ll play another comic book character. After playing Storm in X-Men and now Catwoman, I think my comic book days are probably over, unless I get to play Catwoman again, because I would love to do that. Other than that, I think I’ve pretty much done it.

Q. Did your catsuit change your mindset about how to play the role once you saw it?
No, but I think every movie role that I venture to play always does something really wonderful for me in my personal life. I don’t think I would do it, as much as I love entertaining people, I’ve found that it offers me, personally, so much more. I don’t think I would fight quite so hard and persevere the way I have been able to, if it didn’t really offer me something very profound in my real life. At the end of every movie experience, I have this great catharsis that happens, and I feel that roles come to me, in my life, at the exact moment that I’m needing and wanting to express whatever that character is expressing. And Catwoman was no different. It came along at a time when I was really at a personal crossroads, and I needed to feel my own sense of power, my sense of strength of a woman. I had to make some tough, life-changing decisions and, believe it or not, donning that suit, every day, for six months, really helped me. And not just the suit, but daring to live and walk with such truth and have such power, and wield that power, and feel how people treated me differently during that time, really was the catalyst for me to make some powerful life-changing decisions.


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