The Bond Girl - Halle Berry

The first Oscar-winning Bond girl reveals to Total Film how she’s going to be “a formidable match” for 007.

What was your reaction when you were offered the part?
I said, “You got to be kidding me.” I just laughed like crazy at first and then I thought, “They really want me to be in a Bond movie...” And then I was really excited. I grew up watching Bond, fantasising about being in that world of mystery and intrigue. And after doing a movie like Monster’s Ball, which was very serious and emotionally raw and down and heavy, I thought how fun it’d be to play a really cool character like Jinx. She’s a formidable match for Bond. She’s very feisty and she’s tough – the way I describe her is the female Bond.

Did you have to do any special training?
Unfortunately, I got cast sort of late in the process so I didn’t have a lot of time to really start preparing, but I stepped up my workout routine and did some combat training and karate and learnt how to use different kinds of weapons.

Has it been a tough shoot?
Yeah. I mean, I can think of tougher times that I’ve had on movies, but some days it’s a little tough. But that’s par for the course, you know? Some days are harder than others. I remember Lee [Tamahori] looked at me one day and he said, “This is what you wanted to do, darling, you signed up.” And I said, “Yes I did and I love it.”

How does it feel to be the first Bond girl who’s an Oscar winner?
I think you can get caught up in what that means and what it doesn’t mean. In that minute, at that moment on that night in time, I was chosen. And one of the best things is that the very next day I had to fly back to London and resume working on Bond. It was such a reality check for me, and it was a wonderful reality because I came back to a great movie and I got right back into what the life of an actor is really all about. It’s about the work, not those moments where you get accolades.

What do you make of Pierce as Bond?
He happens to be my personal favourite simply because, when Pierce became Bond, I started to understand the movies. When I was really young I didn’t really understand what was going on, I just loved watching it, I loved seeing the women, I loved seeing all the gadgets. But I wasn’t always able to follow the story. When Pierce became Bond I really started to get involved in the stories more. So he has a special place in my mind.

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