Interviews: Halle Berry on Gothika !

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Halle Berry stars as Dr. Miranda Grey in the supernatural thriller, Gothika, opening in theaters this Friday. Dr. Grey is a dedicated and successful criminal psychologist who awakens to find herself a patient in her own mental institution with no memory of the murder she’s apparently committed. She soon learns that her husband was brutally murdered three days earlier, and the bloody evidence points directly at her.

Berry is not her glamorous self in the movie. Director Mathieu Kassovitz said that he got a kick out of taking two beautiful women (Berry and co-star Penelope Cruz) and trashing them. “He loved it. And we did too,” Halle told ComingSoon.net. “It’s really cathartic to not to have to worry about your looks, especially in a time and an industry that it sometimes becomes all about that. It’s nice to say hey, it’s really not all about that for us.”

This was the first time that Berry had done underwater work for a film. “I’m really not that comfortable being tethered down underwater. You have to have a lot of trust in the stunt coordinators and believe that everybody is really going to take care of you and protect you, because at one point I was tied down underwater and could not get out until somebody released me. So that was a little frightening at times.” She added that they did not have a way of getting her oxygen, but she did have a way to get out. “Oh yeah, I had a code. If I really needed it I just had to go like this and they would dive down and, yeah. I knew that I would be safe. I guess when you’re under there, there is a certain amount of panic that sometimes started to set in with me. I can hold my breath for about a minute and a half but when the camera was rolling, I swear I couldn’t hold it longer than 20 seconds because I had the anxiety and the panic inside of me.”

Speaking of anxiety, Halle says she does believe in ghosts. “Yeah, I do. I believe there are old spirits, or settled spirits, just still among us. Around us.” In the film, Dr. Grey realizes she’s become the pawn of a vengeful spirit and what the character goes through in the film gave Halle Berry some disturbing dreams in real life. “I had lots of nightmares while making this movie and I think that’s my body’s way of processing all of this scary, freaky information that I pumped into it all day. I think the images that I had to conjure up into my mind to get to some of these places was my body’s way of sort of discarding it and working through it, through my dreams or something.”

Berry personally requested that Robert Downey Jr. be cast as Dr. Pete Graham. “I just think he’s one of this generation’s finest actors,” she said. “I think like everybody, for some reason there are those people that no matter how many times they screw up, you still have an affinity for them because deep down you know that they’re a good soul that’s struggling with the disease that just has them in their grasp. Everybody wants to try to always give him a chance and he’s a good guy. He’s a good guy.”

Halle Berry, who plays Storm in the X-Men movies, is currently filming another superhero adaptation, Catwoman, up in Vancouver. She told us a bit about what to expect. “I do wear a mask in this one and what I like a lot about this script is that it harkens back to the Catwomen of the past. Like we’re not presenting that I’m the only Catwoman. I’m one of nine Catwomen. We believe there are nine Catwomen in this life and I’m one of them. I would be the sixth or fifth one. And so, there are scenes where they talk about, yeah you know, that really great Catwoman on the east coast, which is supposed to be Michelle Pfeiffer. It leaves room for us to appreciate the ones of the past and also make a space for this new Catwoman version which is mine who is a little more 2004. The costume is a little bit more sexy than the costumes of the past, she’s a little bit more urban, and hopefully we’ll find a right tone for her that will make her like the other ones, but somehow different at the same time.”

Hollywood reports had said that the spin-off of her character Jinx from Die Another Day was no longer going forward, but Halle says it’s still possible. “They wrote the script and it’s awesome, but I don’t know where it’s gonna fit.”

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