I wanted to bind with the underdog to understand the struggle, fortitude, tenacity to survive, to rise above the odds: Halle Berry

Asha Bajaj
4 min readNov 14, 2020

#Halley Berry; #TIFF2020; #Bruised; #CameronBailey

During one of the conversations series organized by the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) held at Toronto, Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director & Co-Head of TIFF discusses with Halle Berry her feature directorial debut, ‘Bruised’ following a former MMA fighter struggling to regain custody of her son and restart her athletic career. Cameron also encourages Berry to open up the challenges she faced as a woman of color, and a black woman in the entertainment industry.

Cameron Bailey: Left; Halle Berry: Right

Asha Bajaj, Editorial-Director of Canadian Media brings you the excerpts:


Cameron To Halley: As an actor, you played superheroes, supervillains, and people who were just struggling to survive like Jackie. What was it about Jackie and the story that drew you to her?

Halley: I think I understand what it has meant to be a black woman in this industry fight over the years to make a way for myself out of no way. That’s what connected me to this character. Having felt like an underdog both in my personal life, and in my professional life, I wanted to be connected to the underdog and understand the struggle, the fortitude, and the tenacity to survive and to rise above the odds. Whenever I think of a character, I have to feel like they can sit in my body and she sat squarely in my body the first time in the script.

It is also a very physical role that you had to play. This is a mixed martial artist, a fighter and I am just curious about that part of the role for the physicality of it. What did you have to go through or did you have some MMA background that we do not know about?

I did not have any MMA background but had a supreme love of the sport and an interest in learning everything I could about it. I went on a two and a half year journey of training and learning many of the different disciplines from Jui-Jitsu to TaekwonDo, to Judo, to wrestling, to boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai. I studied many of those different disciplines and sort of came up with a fighting style for this character, but it was about a two-and-a-half-year proposition.

Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women