Halle Berry shares how she transformed into an MMA fighter for directorial debut 'Bruised'

Peter Sblendorio, New York Daily News on

Published in Entertainment News

To pack a punch with her directorial debut, Halle Berry knew she needed to think like the gritty mixed martial artist at the center of her movie.

The Oscar winner embraced the challenge of directing “Bruised” and starring as a washed-up fighter seeking redemption in her sport.

“I was walking like a fighter, talking like a fighter,” Berry told the Daily News. “My thoughts were what I would imagine, if I were a real fighter, I’d be thinking about. I’d gone through all the injuries of a fighter. I kept going, and I was also learning about myself through the fight game.

“I think that’s what a lot of fighters do,” said Berry, who broke two ribs during production. “You find out what you’re made of when you start fighting, and you’re challenging yourself mentally and physically.”

The film, out Wednesday on Netflix, introduces Berry’s Jackie Justice as a former MMA standout who hasn’t fought in four years following a disastrous bout. Her personal life is crumbling, too, as she struggles to pay bills and unexpectedly takes on custody of her estranged son.

Berry, a longtime fan of boxing movies and MMA fighting, was immediately drawn to the “Bruised” script and came up with a vision to connect with the story even further.


“It was written for a white Irish Catholic woman, so I knew that if I were to do it, I would have to reimagine it into a world that I could fit in,” Berry, 55, said. “Once I was allowed to do that, and create these fractured characters that I understood, I knew that this was something I had to do.”

Berry was already thinking about “Bruised” as she trained for the 2019 action film “John Wick: Chapter 3.” She continued working with the same training staff once that movie was complete.

“I knew that I couldn’t become an MMA fighter overnight, or appear to look like one overnight, so I knew I would have to put in the time,” Berry said.

“I started first with wrestling and judo, and then I went to jujitsu, and then I started working on some Muay Thai, working on my kicks. Then I started boxing and kickboxing. I got to do it little by little, and I got to work with some of the best trainers, the best fighters, former MMA fighters.”


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