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Life in the fast lane

By Daily Bruin Staff

April 1, 1996 9:00 pm

Tuesday, April 2, 1996

Actress Halle Berry has two films currently in theaters with
another pair on their way. All this to keep from getting bored …
By Emily Forster

Daily Bruin Contributor

Getting the opportunity to travel to Australia, meet talented
actors and make big bucks might sound like a grand prize on a game
show, but in reality this kind of experience is grueling.
Really.

Just ask actress Halle Berry, star of "Race the Sun."

"I did all this great cultural stuff, but it was really hard to
be there," recalls Berry. "(Australia) was so far away, so out of
touch with my real life and family. After a while, all of it was
great but I got really homesick. I said, ‘Done it, seen it; I want
to go home.’"

Despite the trials of shooting in a distant country, she
survived. Berry gives a charismatic, likable performance in "Race,"
an upbeat film about high school underachievers who find self-worth
through racing solar-powered cars.

Looking cool and elegant in a black pantsuit despite the bright
lights heating up an office at Tristar, Berry explains the troubles
she faces as a successful actress ­ first and foremost working
with the media.

"When life is great and you have movies coming out, you want to
talk to the press and you’ll answer just about anything," explains
Berry. "And all of the sudden, when something negative or not so
happy is happening in your life, it’s hard to talk about, but you
feel like you have to. It’s just really sincerely hard, so (I have
to find) the balance to stay consistent through the good times and
the bad in deciding how much to share."

But sometimes the press is the least of her worries. As a young
African American actress, Berry often finds herself typecast into
certain roles. To Berry, it is essential to stay out of what she
calls "black exploitation" movies, and to find herself roles that
are not necessarily always race specific.

"I’m not interested in making ‘Girlz in the Hood,’" says Berry.
"I’m sick of that story. I get offered movies like that quite a bit
and I have to keep saying no.

"Because (African Americans have) had great success with ‘Boyz
in the Hood’ and those kinds of movies, it’s going to take us some
time now to move out of that," says Berry. "I’ve done roles that
people said I wouldn’t do. These roles were written for white
women."

However, it hasn’t been as easy for Berry as it sounds. The
actress feels that she has encountered problems because of her
race. But this isn’t stopping her.

"I feel the effects of racism in this country," says Berry, "but
it’s better than it was 10 years ago, it’s better than it was 50
years ago, it’s better than it was 100 years ago. I’m looking to
the positive because if you look back, you’re not going
forward."

Considering the projects Berry has at the moment, the actress
has reason to be optimistic. She is set to star as "The Rich Man’s
Wife," which Berry describes as a "suspense, thriller, murder
mystery," and in May will begin shooting "BAPs (Black American
Princesses)," which she likens to "a ‘Dumb and Dumber’ for
women."

Having just finished "Race the Sun" and "Executive Decision,"
one might think that the actress would like a rest from work, but
that’s not the case here.

"After doing (so many) back- to-back things, I thought ‘I need a
break now,’" says Berry. "But after two weeks I’m already
bored."

But Berry’s busy schedule has its downside. The actress has just
gone through a divorce from her husband, Atlanta Braves star
outfielder David Justice.

"My personal life and career ­ that’s a struggle for me at
the moment," admits Berry. "It seems like one has to give. I’m
finding it hard to have them both at the same time."

Judging from the amount of projects Berry embarks on, it would
appear that she favors her career over her personal life. But the
actress sees her choice to accept role after role without a break
in a different light.

"I think if I stop working, then I lose myself, and if I have no
self, I have nothing to offer anybody. It’s more self-preservation.
I’m not opting one over the other, but I have to opt to save
myself."

"Race the Sun," featuring Halle Berry, is a movie about high
school underachievers who receive the opportunity to discover
self-worth while racing solar powered cars.

Halle Berry stars in "Race the Sun," one of two movies she’s
starred in recently. Her other film is "Executive Decision." Berry
is also working on two new projects, a comedy and a mystery
thriller.

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