In a cover story with Variety, Halle Berry is opening up about several defining moments of her career: fighting with Bryan Singer on the set of X-Men, losing out on the James Bond spinoff and becoming the first and only Black woman to win Best Actress at the Oscars.
Berry said that after her historic win, she thought she’d be taken more seriously. Berry shared: “I thought, ‘Oh, all these great scripts are going to come my way; these great directors are going to be banging on my door.’ It didn’t happen. It actually got a little harder. They call it the Oscar curse. You’re expected to turn in award-worthy performances.”
But she added that there seemed to be an element of racism to the lack of opportunity, and the fact that no other Black women have won: “I think it’s largely because there was no place for someone like me. I thought Cynthia Erivo, the star of Harriet was going to do it last year. I thought Ruth Negga, nominated for 2016’s Loving had a really good shot at it too. I thought there were women that rightfully, arguably, could have, should have. I hoped they would have, but why it hasn’t gone that way, I don’t have the answer.”
She added: “It’s one of my biggest heartbreaks. The morning after, I thought, ‘Wow, I was chosen to open a door.’ And then, to have no one… I question, ‘Was that an important moment, or was it just an important moment for me?’ I wanted to believe it was so much bigger than me. It felt so much bigger than me, mainly because I knew others should have been there before me and they weren’t. Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me. I was just continuing to forge a way out of no way.”
One role that did emerge was her character Jinx in Die Another Day. Fans wanted a spinoff, but it was stalled because MGM didn’t want to allocate the $80 million budget it needed.
“It was very disappointing,” Berry said about losing the Jinx movie. “It was ahead of its time. Nobody was ready to sink that kind of money into a Black female action star. They just weren’t sure of its value. That’s where we were then.”
She also spoke out about her experience as Storm in Bryan Singer‘s X-Men franchise.
“Bryan’s not the easiest dude to work with,” Berry told Variety. “I mean, everybody’s heard the stories — I don’t have to repeat them — and heard of his challenges, and what he struggles with…Sometimes, because of whatever he’s struggling with, he just didn’t always feel present. He didn’t feel there. And we’re outside in our little ‘X-Men’ stage freezing our **s off in Banff, Canada, with subzero weather and he’s not focusing. And we’re freezing. You might get a little mad.”
Berry continued, “I would sometimes be very angry with him. I got into a few fights with him, said a few cuss words out of sheer frustration. When I work, I’m serious about that. And when that gets compromised, I get a little nutty. But at the same time, I have a lot of compassion for people who are struggling with whatever they’re struggling with, and Bryan struggles.”