DISCLAIMER: Bruised is screening as a work-in-progress at TIFF ’20
Halle Berry makes her directorial debut with Bruised. It follows disgraced MMA fighter Jackie “Justice” (Halle Berry) who has been struggling to get by after losing an important match years ago. Since then, she’s been living with her Manager-Bboyfriend Desi (Adan Canto). One night, Desi tricks Jackie into an underground fight and her passion for the sport reignites. That same night, her six-year-old son whom she abandoned years ago, is left at her doorstep. This sends Jackie on a redemption path both to prove herself both in the ring, and as a mother to Manny.
Bruised follows the classic Athlete/Fighter redemption archetype, told through a new lens. While this has been explored before with a central female character, typically see these stories with men in the lead. Berry is well aware that a woman can pack a punch too. Early, she throws us right into the ring in Jackie’s enraged world. Her short-temper is shown in the opening scene where she attacks a teenager because he films her while she’s changing. Jackie’s brute force is shown also to us immediately. In the underground match, we see just how violent and ruthless she can be when faced with a worthy competitor.
At the center of everything is Berry’s performance. She does an excellent job channeling Jackie’s pent-up rage, but also showing her weaknesses. It’s clear in the First Act that Jackie is ready to fire after her previous match. Also, there is tenderness to her when she is paired with Manny. Those quiet moments between mother and son allow Berry to show her range. It’s also an honest depiction of the female personality, that a duality of tough and gentle can co-exist.
Berry has surrounded herself with strong talent. Toronto’s own, and TIFF ’19 Rising Star Shamier Anderson is great as Jackie’s newly-minted Manager with an agenda. Canto turns-in a strong performance as Jackie’s supportive, yet abusive Manager-Boyfriend. However, the most memorable performance from the Supporting Cast comes from TIFF ’20 Rising Star Sheila Atim. She commands the screen as Jackie’s ‘zen’ Trainer.
Berry sets her Film amidst the tough streets of Newark, New Jersey, taking us into Jackie‘s heart and soul. She shoots the training and fight scenes with passion and intensity. The Film’s blockbuster fight scenes are its brightest moments. While the story veers often to other competing plot lines surrounding her family and love, which ultimately fail to come to full fruition and get resolved, we wanted more training and fights and that always should have been the central focus. A bit more judicious editing and a shorter run time would benefit this work-in-progress.
Bruised screens at TIFF ’20:
Sat, Sep 12 6:00pm
Online at Bell Digital Cinema
Sat, Sep 12 7:45pm Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView
Fri, Sep 18 9:00pm Visa Skyline Drive-In at CityView
As per of TIFF‘s SHARE HER JOURNEY initiative promoting emerging females in Film, the public got to enjoy a free virtual event, In Conversation with…. Halle Berry tonight, hosted by CBC‘s Amanda Parris.
Having been in the industry for over 30 years, Berry‘s career has been nothing short of legendary. In addition to winning an Oscar for her work in 2001’s Monster’s Ball, her extraordinary catalog has seen her star in the X-Men Franchise, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Jungle Fever, Boomerang and several more impactful films of our time. She has seen an incredible longevity and tonight she reflected on her path to success.
Berry makes her directorial debut at TIFF ’20 with BRUISED, which premieres at the Festival. The MMA Sports-Drama sees her starring as disgraced fighter Jackie “Justice” who must face an up-and-coming rival in the ring and also confront the son she abandoned several years prior. The Film just sold in a huge deal for $20 million to Netflix.
Berry on getting into acting:
“I was looking for an outlet to explore what I had to say that modelling couldn’t. Originally, I thought I’d be a reporter and travel around the world reporting the news. In acting, I let the universe set forth what I should be doing. It happened with my directorial debut and when I started acting.”.
On being more than her shelland playing a drug addict in Spike Lee‘s Jungle Fever, her breakthrough role:
“I grew-up in an environment where I knew I didn’t always fit in. I knew I was full of substance and had tons of stories to tell. I knew I was always more than my shell. I felt from Jungle Fever on, I could be seen as more than a pretty face model-turned-actor.”.
On her Oscar-winning role in Monster’s Ball:
“I always go for the dark horse character in the race and I’m always drawn to that. This speaks to my own brokenness. I get to have a cathartic experience and share parts of myself I don’t always present so forwardly. I know where exactly the pain of this character lives innately.”.
On whether she watches her performances again:
“I watch them only once to prepare for Press and once at the Premiere. I never go back and watch them. That is the hardest thing to do. In my directorial debut, I had to watch myself over and over and over and that was one of the hardest aspects.”
On how she feels about the thought that Monster’s Ball propagates the idea of a ‘White Saviour‘:
“I stand behind everything I ever said. It was an important story to tell and a character I related to. I never looked at Billy Bob as the ‘White Saviour‘, but instead, two characters who needed love. I’ve never thought of the Film as being about ‘black and white’.”.
On winning an Oscar:
“I’ve never embraced any character thinking this is going to get me an award. Once you get an award, there is nothing to ensure you’ll get another award. The unfair expectation is once you do win an award, you will continue to win like you had control over that the first time. I’ve tried to stay hungry as an Actor and take risks… I can’t say it got any easier after I won that award.”.
On the changing landscape for coloured women in Entertainment:
“I do see things have changed. 20 years ago, we were in a different situation than we are today. Look at our landscape. I think our best movies are on TV. and it’s full of colour. I’m really proud to be part of the evolution. It’s starting to feel better.”.
On her directorial debut, BRUISED, which she had to re-imagine instead with a middle-aged black woman. The role originally was written for an Irish-American white woman.
“I wanna see someone rise above obstacle. That’s what most people relate to. We’re all struggling to survive and show-up for ourselves and our families.”.
“I was charged with finding someone to bring this story to life. After speaking to the Producers, I realized through the prodding of a close friend of mine I could direct this after thinking ‘Nobody understands what’s in my head!'”. “I pitched myself as the Director and I was off to the races.”.
Our Review of BRUISED will be posted later next week, be sure to check back.
eOne Films x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to win Advance Passes to see JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUMWednesday, May 15, 2019 in Toronto. One lucky winner wins a Prize Pack with T-Shirt, Key Chain and digital downloads of the first two JOHN WICK films!
See the Prize Pack:
Super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is targeted by hit men and women everywhere after a $14 bounty is placed on his head for killing another member of the international assassin’s guild.
It doesn’t look like there’s any hope for him… the High table and the entire city want him dead. However, John reconnects with Sofia (Halle Berry), a former friend and hitwoman. The two join forces to help John save his life and fight his way out of New York City.
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK and indicate your City! Re-Tweet this Tweet from @mrwillw for another shot!
eOne Films release JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUMFriday, May 17, 2019.
The Orchard x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to win Run-of-Engagement Passes to see KINGS starring Daniel Craig and Halle Berry.
Set against a backdrop of rising tensions in Los Angeles during the Rodney King trial in 1992, writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven‘s KINGS, stars Oscar winner Halle Berry and Daniel Craig as citizens of the same South Central neighbourhood.
MILLIE (Halle Berry) is a hardworking, tough and protective single mother with an affection for homeless children. She already has eight children living in her house and will soon bring home another. Her neighbor OBIE (DanielCraig) is the local loose cannon, and the only white man in an area largely inhabited by African Americans, Latinos, and Koreans. With racial tensions running dangerously high, Millie and Obie would appear to be unlikely allies. Yet following the acquittal of four of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, these two must navigate the gathering chaos in the city to bring Millie‘s kids home safely.
Though KINGS doesn’t focus on the LA riots overall, it does delve into the impact and the fragility of family units during these circumstances. As the current social and political climate begins to mirror the turmoil and tensions of the past, the events depicted in Kings are, sadly, only more resonant today.
TIFF ’17 may be winding down but that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t any more stars left to spot. While we were so excited about Daniel Craig returning after filming Dream House here a few years back, those hopes were dashed when we received confirmation he no longer would be coming. Academy Award winner Halle Berry however also stars in their new Film KINGS from Mustangs Director Deniz Gamze Ergüven. The Film centers on a family before and after the violent L.A. Riots in 1992 following the Rodney King trial.
Berry looke gorgeous in a shimmery and sheer black dress, her hair like a high ponytail like a Grecian goddess.
See some Snaps of the Cast, Ergüven and Berry tonight at Roy Thomson Hall. Hover left and right to navigate slideshow.
20th Century Fox Canada x Mr. Will want to take Readers to see KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE on Monday, September 18, 2017 in Toronto.
Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) is learning what it takes to be a true Kingsman from mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth). He learns nice clothes, fancy cars and cool weapons help the Kingsman with their ultimate goal: to sacrifice anything for the greater good.
But when the Kingsman headquarters is destroyed, Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) have to figure out who is responsible. Their research leads them to discover an allied American agency called Statesman comprised of Agent Tequila (Channing Tatum), Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and Agent Champagne (Jeff Bridges). The two agencies decide to band together to try to discover this new enemy and save the world.
After a smashing success first time around, a second installment of KINGSMAN is on the way and here’s your first look at the Trailer!
Check out this cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, with Sir Elton John, and Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges!
In “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” our heroes face a new challenge. When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman. These two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy…
See the Trailer:
20th Century Fox Canada release KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLEFriday, September 22, 2017.
TIFF 2012 was another great Festival. The fact that Toronto plays Host to such a prestigious and glamorous event is a true testament to the level of respect the Film Industry has for our City. I am so proud to be a Torontonian and proud of my fellow Torontonians who made it all happen, from the Hot Dog Vendors who fed those of us with no time for a sit-down meal, to the Celebrity Drivers and Security Guards for keeping everyone out of harm’s way.
This year I met many Stars and my only regret is not being able to be at two places at once with the opening weekend crammed with Stars. Although this is nothing new for the Festival, let’s just say I never want to be faced with having to decide between Johnny Depp versus Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence versus Emma Watson, Tom Hanks versus Jackie Chan versus Will Smith ever again! Whomever schedules the times and locations of these Premieres certainly wasn’t a Star Spotter, that much I can say. Nightmare.
Ask Hanks, who called-out the Festival Organizers at the Press Conference for Cloud Atlas, asking: “Why do you run your celebrities through a pin like we’re bulls on the way to slaughter? It’s the narrowest kind of like entrance to a theater I’ve ever had.”. So believe me, it’s not just the Fans who are complaining – the Celebrities also have thoughts on the matter.
Thank you for being there along the way with me, tuning-in on CP24 and CTV News and reading my Posts as I dozed off on my keyboard fighting to finish that one more Blog Post at 5:00 AM. I can now look forward to catching-up on sleep once again, spotting Stars in the City at a far more reasonable pace and being Billy‘s Dad again. Oh, how I’ve missed that little Guy. And oh, how I know come January (when the Stars are sparse in the City) that I’ll be wishing it was September again!
Until next year…
List of Celebrities: Vanessa Hudgens, John Krasinski, Flava Flav, Ashley Benson, Kevin Zegers, Karl Urban, Alice Englert, Derek Cianfrance, Stephen Fung, Ben Mendelsohn, Dane DeHaan, Lana Wachowski, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Glen Powell, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Liana Liberato, Jessica Mauboy, June Diane Raphael, Trudie Styler, Mickey Sumner, Kristen Wiig, Sam Taylor-Wood, Aaron Johnson, Eva Mendes, Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Kevin James, Adam Sandler, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Tate Donovan, Ben Affleck, Coco, Ice-T, Amy Adams, Gina Torres, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Frank Grillo, Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Shannon, Viggo Mortensen, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jason Bateman, Paula Patton, Marisa Tomei, Julie Benz, Lorenza Izzo, Jacqueline MacInnes-Wood, Patrick J. Adams & Tatyana Ali, Gregory Smith, Penelope Mitchell, Abbie Cornish, Logan Lerman, Toby Irvine, Jeremy Irvine, Emile Hirsch, Chris O’Dowd, Lee Daniels, Kiowa Gordon, Alessandro Nivola, Zac Efron, Octavia Spencer and Shannon Leto.
1. Bruce Willis actually signing an Autograph for once – Press Conference for Looper. Believe me, he rarely does it! His younger Co-Star Joseph Gordon-Levitt certainly could learn a lesson or two from that, getting booed after turning-down Fans yet again.
2. Vanessa Hudgens & Austin Butler arriving in Toronto together for Spring Breakers.
3. Kristen Stewart at the On the Road Premiere. Smiling! A great regret of mine for not bothering to queue toe Red Carpet for her as she was extremely generous with Fans that day.
4. Garrett Hedlund is a star on the rise; he is seen here at On the Road Premiere.
5. Karl Urban at the Premiere for Dredd 3-D. Is he perhaps Action Cinema’s most underrated Actor?
6. Joss Whedon walking to TIFF Bell Lightbox for some Photos. Several Fanboys and Fangirls got their biggest wish come true meeting the Director as he walked to and from Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
7. Lana Wachowski debuts herself as a Woman at the Cloud Atlas Press Conference. Yes, you know who she is. Think: The Matrix.
8. Jennifer Lawrence at the Press Conference for Silver Linings Playbook. Easily the Festival’s biggest “It Girl”. Few got their Photos with her, but The Hunger Games Star did her best to sign every Autograph she could.
9. Tom Hanks at Cloud Atlas Press Conference. That is all.
10. Halle Berry being gracious to Fans working her way into ever corner of the queue, signing Autographs at Cloud Atlas Press Conference. I am floored by her beauty and kindness.
11. John Hawkes at the Premiere for The Sessions, for which he is gaining a tremendous amount of Oscar buzz with. He declined me a Photo but still was nice about it, as he was rushed off into his vehicle.
12. Patrick Schwarzenegger at the Premiere for his first Film, The Writers. Yes, I met a Schwarzenegger!! Was Arnold even this handsome at his age?
13. Lily Collins at the Premiere for The Writers. Love her Balmain Dress; favourite Dress at TIFF 2012 – no doubt.
14. Pierce Brosnan at the Premiere for Love Is All You Need. As classy and kind as you’d imagine.
15. Kristen Wiig at the Premiere for Imogene. Incredibly gracious on the Carpet, but don’t bug her when she’s not working. My #1 Person to Meet at TIFF 2012 and it happened! And it was epic! Hilarious seeing myself shouting for her on the Carpet later that day on the news!!
16. Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling together in one Photo. How can one .jpg contain that much hotness? Photo taken at Party for The Place Beyond the Pines where Gosling was spotted bringing his Mom, Donna. Aww!
17. Eva Mendes at the Party for The Place Beyond the Pines. Whatever Ryan Gosling has done to her, she needs to keep doing as she was in great spirits that night. Mendes was incredibly friendly to Fans this year and she has never looked more glamorous doing it. I want to squeal every time I look at my Photo with her.
18. Elle Fanning at the Premiere for Ginger & Rosa. Stunning and sweet young Lady who happens to be the little Sister of Dakota. She is said to have been v. emotional after seeing Film for the first time and apparently cried on-stage during the Q&A.
19. Christina Hendricks at the Premiere for Ginger & Rosa. Stunning. Just absolutely stunning. The Mad Men Star declined Photos that night, but after a bit of persistence she did it and I will never forget! Thanks to Friend and Reader Laura for snapping this!
20. Adam Sandler at the Press Conference for Hotel Transylvania being awesome with Fans surprisingly. You just can never tell with Comedians. He’s always been a favourite of mine and I’d never have guessed I’d have gotten a Photo with him!
21. Selena Gomez at the Press Conference for Hotel Transylvania. I have never heard so much shrieking. Ever.
22. Ben Affleck at the Press Conference for Argo, which although got mixed reviews at Venice Film Festival, was loved by many in Toronto. A great Guy who is equally talented as a Director as he is an Actor and wonderful to his Fans. He definitely is one of my greatest highlights of TIFF 2012.
23. Bryan Cranston at the Press Conference for Argo. A true Gentleman who hopefully will come back to film in Toronto again and be welcomed with open arms as he’s just an amazing Guy!
24. Darren Criss at a Photo Call for Imogene. Some Glee Fans had great experiences with him, some not so much especially after arriving so late to the Premiere for the Film that he had little time for Fans.
25. Paul Thomas Anderson at the Press Conference for The Master – the one Film which already is being touted as a clear favourite to win Best Picture this year.
26. Amy Adams at the Press Conference for The Master. They don’t come much nicer than her. One of my fondest memories of TIFF 2012 was meeting her. One of America’s greatest Actresses and believe me, I’ve waited year after year for her to come.
27. Ziyi Zhang at the Roy Thomson Hall Premiere for Dangerous Liaisons. Absolute perfection.
28. Michael Shannon at the Press Conference for The Iceman; a bona fide Actor’s Actor on the verge of an Oscar whether it be this year or another year. Incredibly humble and generous with Fans, taking the time to fulfill every request thrown his way that day.
29. Kristin Scott Thomas leaving her Hotel after promoting No. Brilliant Actress, who is every bit as classy and kind as you’d imagine. Will she ever age?!
30. Marisa Tomei at Red Carpet for Inescapable at Roy Thomson Hall. Tomei was in great spirits at the Carpet, signing many Autographs and believe it or not, doing some Photos with Fans. I even got one (minus the fact that she moved quickly after posing!). A rarity for the Oscar-winning Actress!
31. Octavia Spencer at Red Carpet for Smashed. Charismatic Actress who although vocal with Fans and generous with Autographs at Ryerson Theatre, was photo-shy, declining Photos with Fans leaving them disappointed as she entered the venue.
32. Aaron Johnson at Premiere for Anna Karenina. Unquestionably talented Actor who is on the verge of becoming Hollywood’s next It Boy. Currently in Toronto filming Kick-Ass 2; lovely meeting his Wife, Sam Taylor-Wood who was a bit taken a back when I asked her for a Snap.
33. Paula Patton leaving her Hotel for Premiere of Disconnect. She was one of the sweetest Celebrities to have graced the City this Festival; extremely giving, friendly and just beautiful to the eye.
34. Chris Evans aka Captain America, at Press Conference for The Iceman. The Hunk has catapulted to the top after much persistence and dedication. Although he typically doesn’t sign Autographs, Fans were delighted by his generosity that day.
35. Penelope Cruz at Press Conference for Twice Born. Always a thrill to see this brilliant Spanish Actress, who has left her mark in Hollywood with a string of Oscar-worthy performances.
36. Chris O’Dowd at Premiere for The Sapphires. The lovable Funnyman spent a good amount of time with Fans as his Premiere with cigarette in-mouth, while earlier Harvey Weinstein milled about in the background, going in and out of VISA Screening Room checking audience reactions. One of the few Films which I saw an Audience give a standing ovation to outside the Theatre.
37. Zoe Kazan at the InStyle Magazine Party. You’ve definitely seen her before but just didn’t know her name. This humble and sweet Actress was spotted with her equally amazing Partner Paul Dano, taking Photos with several Fans. Currently in-town filming The F Word opposite Daniel Radcliffe, it’s quite possible we’ll be seeing her on the Red Carpet herself at TIFF 2013! While most Actresses opted for fluffy frocks and slinky dresses, she kept it cool and casual.
38. Johnny Depp at Premiere for West of Memphis. Although I physically wasn’t at this event, I did see Depp earlier in the day at the Press Conference for the Documentary, failing to fire a proper Snap of him as he hopped straight into his vehicle. He apparently was generous with Autographs upon arrival, although few who were persistent enough managed a Snap together with him. Thanks to my loyal Reader and Friend Sheetal for sending this in!
39. Gwyneth Paltrow at Premiere for Thanks for Sharing. Fans who lined the Carpet at Ryerson Theatre were in awe how kind this Oscar-winning Actress was with Fans. It definitely was one of my biggest regrets of the Festival, just missing her both arriving and leaving, but thanks again to Sheetal, I have a beautiful Snap to show you. Paltrow was in a great hurry to fly-out after walking the Red Carpet quickly.
40. Jeremy Irvine at the InStyle Magazine Party. I adore this Irish-born Actor v. much after having seen him in War Horse – the one single Movie which made me cry so hard my face hurt, last year. I’ll be the first to admit he’s a bit more reserved and quiet than I’d have imagined but still a great Guy. I also got to meet his younger Brother Toby, who is just breaking into Cinema appearing in Dickens Adaptation Great Expectations together. Thanks to my amazing Reader and Friend Nicole who generously sent this Snap over after my Camera failed to fire!
41. Zac Efron at Afterparty for The Paperboy. One of the Films I am most excited to see this year is this latest effort from Precious Director, Lee Daniels. The number one question I received on Twitter this Festival definitely was “Do you have any idea where Zac is staying?”. Everywhere he went there was chaos as that was the case at his Afterparty at Bloke and Forth, with Fans crowding to meet him, resulting in him having to be escorted-in prematurely.
42. Logan Lerman at The Writers Premiere. One of the biggest breakout Stars of TIFF 2012 is this Star of Percy Jackson. Praise has been universal for his other Film at the Festival, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, with Critics and Sir Paul McCartney singing the praises of the Novel Adaptation. He’s definitely an Oddball, but a good Guy.
It’s been an absolute blast making it through another TIFF together. Thank you all for your encouragement, Re-Tweets and kind words. Can’t wait till next year already! *bow*
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong | Additional Photos: Sheetal Nanda/Nicole Divitcoff/Laura Cordero)
Beautiful Halle Berry stirred-up the crowd of Fans waiting outside the Press Conference for Cloud Atlas yesterday – just one of several Stars arriving in a fleet of SUVs for the ambitious and eagerly-awaited Sci-Fi Flick. The Oscar Winner was pure gold to Fans, generously making her way through the Crowd from front to back and signing a “storm” of Autographs. Fans were so satisfied they gave her a round of applause! It’s always refreshing to see a Celebrity who “gets it” – even at Berry’s stature!