She played a Bond girl in the early ’00s, has recently joined the “Kingsman” spy franchise and pulls a few slick moves in her latest film, “Kidnap.” But despite her action-packed resume, you won’t see Halle Berry playing 007 any time soon.
“A female Bond? I don’t think so,” says the actress, 50. “That’s such a beloved franchise that I don’t think you come in there and make a woman now James Bond. I just, I couldn’t.”
The Oscar winner is open, however, “to coming up with another new [female] character that’s Bond-esque.”
It’s an idea that perhaps Berry’s production company, 606 Films, might consider. “Kidnap,” a fast-paced thriller that sees Berry as a mom chasing after her kidnapped son, was the first feature 606 produced and will hopefully be the first of many films featuring badass women, Berry says.
We caught up with the star ahead of the movie’s release on Friday.
What drove you to make “Kidnap?”
There were two very important reasons. One, as a mother, this resonated so completely with me. It was a character that I knew I could bring to life because it was very close to me, and also it’s the first movie under the banner of my production company, and it sort of signifies the kinds of movies that I want to make through that company, which are movies that empower women, that show us in the light that we naturally are. I think that women are strong. We’re fierce. … I want to make [films] that highlight the strength of women.
You’re a strong voice in the conversation about diversity in film. How will 606 Films emphasize that?
I want to keep empowering women, and women of color, and giving opportunities to others who struggle. I’ve struggled my whole career and so I’d like to be a part of that solution and provide opportunities for others too. I’ve been very blessed in my life, and I’ve been able to do movies and express many things that I’ve wanted to express in film, and I hope to be able to create opportunities for others.
What’s your opinion on the new wave of 774 Academy invitees?
I’m hoping it will have an impact. I mean, time will tell, but I think the lists of people are very diverse, both men and women, different ethnic backgrounds, and I think for sure that’s going to have an impact.
How do these larger questions of empowerment inform the decisions you make as a filmmaker?
I try to make decisions based on what moves me. I try not to let the pressure of political correctness sit down on my creative choices as an artist. I do things that inspire me. I do things that give me a chance to grow creatively, or to learn, or to work with filmmakers that I really wanted to work with, or the actors that I really want to work with, so I try to let the work speak for itself and not really worry about being politically correct. If I believe in it, and if it’s something I stand for, then that’s really what I care most about.
You’ve got “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” coming up. What can you tell us about it?
I was so happy to be a part of that movie. I was a big fan of the first “Kingsman.” Being in a Bond movie, when I saw that movie, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was going to be very much like a Bond movie, and there’s some elements of it that are the same, but it also goes off in another direction that makes it feel very modern and a little bit different. It’s a new franchise. It’s not steeped in all the history of the Bond movies. They’re starting their own history right now, which was kind of exciting.
You spent some time in New York City in ’80s, early on in your career. What does the city mean to you?
Well, New York is kind of where I started my career. I remember I met my manager, who lived in New York, and I spent about two years living in the city as I was starting, and studying, and sleeping on his sofa, and doing the whole starving artist deal there. … I still have my very first apartment that I got there — near Carnegie Hall. It’s one of my most cherished possessions because it reminds me of the beginning, how far I’ve come, and I just love it. I have a lot of love for New York.