With over 40 movie/TV credits to boast of, Halle Berry is not one that appears to be restrained or held back by anything. But the Extant star says one constant hurdle she has to jump is being put in a specific box because of her looks – she practically had to beg to be taken seriously in Hollywood.
She went on to say for her first movie role (Jungle Fever), she had to beg Spike Lee to allow her try out for the crack ho part. The latter resisted because he felt she was too pretty and couldn’t possibly pull it off.
“Spike Lee wanted me to read for the part of his wife and I read that part fine enough, but then I said to Spike ‘You know I really am eyeing this crack ho role, can you please let me audition for that?’ And he said, ‘no, no I don’t see you as the crack ho,'” she narrated to W Magazine “So, he let me do that and I came back out and I got to read the crack ho, and I got the part of the of the crack ho. And it was an amazing way to start my career, playing a crack ho be directed by Spike Lee. It was major for me.”
Berry says that experience spurred her to go for the not-so-pretty roles in Hollywood to prove that she was so much more than a former pageant girl.
Her experience with Lee was however not the last of its kind. The Oscar winner also encountered a similar hurdle when she auditioned for Monsters Ball
“With Monsters Ball, Lee Daniels didn’t want to see me read. He was actually disgusted by the thought. He thought there’s no way and my argument to him was, just because someone looks a certain way doesn’t mean that they are spared adversity. Adversity does not discriminate. I thought, ‘My looks haven’t spared me one hardship or one hurt moment or one painful situation. So please, you know, give me a shot at this.’ I said, ‘I often think it’s more interesting when you see someone that looks a certain way struggle in ways that you wouldn’t think they would be struggling with.’ He ultimately gave me a chance and that sort of changed the course of my career in so many ways.”