This article originally ran on Den of Geek UK.
Whatever you think of her movies, there’s little doubting that Academy Award winner Halle Berry has suffered for her art. Notably one of the few performers to win both an Academy Award and a Razzie for their acting, Berry – to her credit – also turned up to pick both up. That was back in an era where the Razzies didn’t feel as cheap and school bully-alike as they do now.
What I like about Halle Berry is I don’t think I’ve ever come away from one of her films feeling like she hasn’t put a shift in. Even the ones I’m not so keen on, there’s never a sense that she’s left me short-changed. You can’t deny, for instance, that her commitment to Catwoman was total, even if the film itself was, er, “problematic.”
What I didn’t appreciate, though, is just how much she’s suffered physically when putting those films together. She seems unstoppable. Of late, she filmed X-Men: Days Of Future Past while pregnant, and there aren’t many comic book heroes who can say that. But before that, the catalogue of on-set injuries that Halle Berry has suffered is sizeable. Not just little scratches, either. When Berry gets hurt on set, she gets hurt…
Die Another Day
I think if I had a favorite Halle Berry set injury story, it’s this one. She was playing Jinx in Pierce Brosnan’s final James Bond movie, Die Another Day. And, as is required in a Bond movie, she was soon under the covers with 007. However, it nearly proved fatal.
She was filming the required rumping and pumping, when she nearly choked to death on a fig.
As Brosnan recalled to Esquire when promoting the film: “suddenly there was no sound coming out. She was … waving her arms and I was banging her on the back. I was about to put my arms around her and start doing the Heimlich manoeuvre, but the both of us were kind of naked. Somehow she expelled the fruit, which was a good thing.”
Brosnan, wonderfully, added that “I was certainly in no position to give the Heimlich to Halle at that moment.”
Berry wasn’t done on that particular film, though. In a separate incident on set, she injured her eye when a smoke grenade went off. The debris from said grenade hit her. No figs were involved that time.
Perhaps this is all why the once-mooted spin-off movie for her character, Jinx, never happened. The insurance premiums would have blown the budget…
A broken arm this time, in this case while being restrained by Robert Downey Jr. The film’s a tepid one, but the pair were filming a scene in mental ward, and Downey Jr was supposed to grab Berry’s arm in a certain way. As she told The Movie Network in 2012, though: “he grabbed my arm the wrong way and broke it.” Without wishing to turn Den of Geek into a gossip column, we perhaps should just note that there is reported frost between the pair as a consequence of what sounds like a very painful incident. Had Downey Jr followed what he was reportedly supposed to do, Berry’s arm would have remained in tact.
What a film to take a hit for. A hit to the head in this case. Berry was filming a stunt sequence for the much-maligned 2005 comic book adaptation, and was smacked on the conk by a lighting prop. She fell to the ground, and had to leave the set, heading off to hospital for tests. There, she was discharged after eight hours, and was back at work the next working day. With eight lives remaining. Arf.
Another double injury movie for Berry. This time, she was filming on location in Mallorca back in 2011, when she added a broken foot to her medical notes. In this case, she was actually on a day off, but still walking around the location for the film, when the accident happened. Berry was out of action for the best part of three weeks as a consequence, and that meant some urgent rescheduling of the movie production.
But she wasn’t done. Further into the production, she then slipped off a rock during a river scene, managing to reinjure the very same foot. As Tom Hanks recalled in an interview with USA Today: “she screamed an expletive louder than anyone I’ve ever heard”. Good for her, say we.
And one more. After the rigours of Cloud Atlas, the underrated The Call should have been a safer option for Berry, given that she spends her time on the blower. But that proved not to be the case. Instead, she had to be rushed to hospital during an evening shoot in Los Angeles, when she hit her head on concrete during a fall. The set was duly shut down in the immediate aftermath of her injury but again, Berry bounced back. It was described as a “minor injury” this time.
Ironically, in the film, she plays the operator at the end of the 911 emergency line. Quite possibly taking calls from the sets of Halle Berry movies…