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Halle Berry Explains Why Netflix's Bruised Is 'Proof' Careers Don't End At 40

Halle Berry aims her gun with a trusted dog by her side in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.

Movies can change at the drop of a hat, and Halle Berry’s directorial debut Bruised is proof of that fact. But that’s not the only lesson to be learned from the upcoming Netflix drama, as in its original form, it wasn’t even meant to find its way to Berry’s hands. Originally written for Blake Lively, Bruised underwent a transformation that proves careers for female actors don’t end at 40, and nor should they.

Speaking with EW about Bruised, Halle Berry revealed crucial details about her upcoming film, in which she plays an MMA fighter named Jackie Justice. Fighting for that one last shot at glory in the ring, Jackie’s reputation is tarnished, and she’s ready to fight her way out of it. If it wasn’t for Berry’s quick thinking upon reading the script, as she described below, Bruised would have played out a very different way:

They gave me the script and I loved the story, but it was written for a twenty-something Irish Catholic white woman. I couldn't get it out of my mind, so I thought, is it possible that this could be reimagined for someone like me? Because I think I have a take on it that could actually work — making it about a middle-aged Black woman, someone fighting for a last chance rather than another chance.

Part of this story is up to fate, as Blake Lively actually passed on the opportunity to make Bruised; presumably in order to play her part in Paramount’s would-be franchise starter The Rhythm Section. Once the path was clear and Halle Berry was able to sell John Wick franchise producer Basil Iwanyk on the idea, that’s where the real work began. Berry was able to not only change Bruised’s story into her specific vision, but she was also able to star in and direct the film as well.

Much like her action-heavy role in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, Halle Berry was given another chance to defy what some would have called conventional wisdom. Berry reflected on this fact later on in her big Bruised interview as well. Taking this opportunity as a sign that the industry she’s a part of is changing, the newly-minted actor/director laid out just exactly how her new project proved that actors over 40 have better career longevity in this more open market:

It used to be when you were 40 your career was done, and I mean really done. Or you had to wait until you were old enough to play a grandma, and then you could have another bite at the apple, right? I mean, I couldn't think that I'd be playing an MMA fighter at 54 years old. Yet I did, so it's got to be changing. I'm proof of that.

Indeed, Halle Berry is about to show the world that she can still take some pain in the ring, as well as check the dailies afterwards and see if she needs to reframe her shot. Bruised is currently set to debut on November 24, only on Netflix. With a pretty crowded release slate, it’s just one of the many big titles the streaming studio is looking to dominate 2021 with, and you can catch the other names in that field through checking out the 2021 Netflix movie release schedule.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.