Halle Berry Interview For ‘Cloud Atlas’
‘Cloud Atlas’ explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future. Academy Award winners Tom Hanks and Halle Berry lead a top-notch international cast that includes Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi and Hugh Grant. Each member of the ensemble appears in multiple roles as the stories move through time.
‘Cloud Atlas’ is written for the screen and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski. The Wachowskis previously teamed as writers/directors of the groundbreaking ‘Matrix’ trilogy, which earned more than $1.6 billion, combined, at the worldwide box office. Tykwer won an Independent Spirit Award and earned a BAFTA Award nomination as the director/writer of Run Lola Run,’ and more recently directed the award-winning thriller ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.’ ‘Cloud Atlas’ is based on the celebrated best-selling novel by David Mitchell. The film arrives in cinemas October 26th in the US and Febuary 22nd, 2013 in the UK. My joint interview with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry for the film can be found here (more to come).
What was your reaction when you were told that you would be playing multiple parts, including cross-gendered roles, each set in a different place and era in ‘Cloud Atlas’?
Halle Berry: When I first read the ‘Cloud Atlas’ script I knew about the two characters I was going to play, Luisa Rey and Meronym, which they told me right away. Then I got the call saying, “There’s two more characters we want you to play?” And I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams what they could be, I was like, “What other two women could I possibly play?” Then I found out that one is a man (laughs), and then one is a German Jewish women. I never thought they would have been characters offered to me, but I was just more and more excited as the days went one, playing the six characters in the end. That was incredible.
How did you map out your character’s across all 6 stories? The consequences of their respected choices play out through each individual character arcs….
Halle Berry: Yeah. When I think about my characters, I take the idea that it’s one soul. In ‘Cloud Atlas’ I start off as an old native woman – and to me she was the least “evolved,” then I move onto Jocasta who’s a bit more evolved, yet she’s living as like a ghost of a person. She’s living but she’s a shell of a person, she’s not really seen, she doesn’t really have a voice. And then I go onto the life of Luisa Rey, who’s struggling very hard to find her voice and find her strength, to live up to her father. Then I go onto play Dr. Ovid, a man, an educated doctor. Then I play a woman, Meronym. She’s ultimately part of saving the world as they know it at that time, so I think with each one of those characters the soul evolved in order to have the strength to be the character that I ended up being. She’s so strong.
At the core there’s the human quality….?
Halle Berry: Yeah. One of the characters I portray in ‘Cloud Altas’ is a German Jewish woman, and one is a woman from the 24th century. As an actor, that’s a thrilling prospect and a huge challenge. At the end of the day people are just people. And they will always be, no matter the circumstances or the time. What I needed to do was find in each the human quality that’s relatable to everyone because that will always be just flesh and bones, heart and brains.
I can imagine ‘Cloud Atlas’ was one of the most unique filmmaking experiences you’ve ever worked on? In playing a number of characters in a story with wide-ranging themes of courage, hope, wonder, treachery, struggle, loss, love, redemption….
Halle Berry: Oh yeah, ’Cloud Atlas’ has been a once in a lifetime filmmaking experience. I will never be a part of another film like this in my life – I know it (laughs). ’Cloud Atlas’ will always be incredibly special. I’m going to always remember the experience and everything I got from it. I love its originality, the originality of everything (laughs). There are so many barriers being broken here, so many exciting concepts and, hopefully, it will leave people thinking about how they perceive the world and their own lives.
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