She admits that she soon realised the film was flawed. “The story didn’t feel quite right,” she said in reference to Sharon Stone’s villain and her evil plot involving harmful cosmetics.
“I remember having that argument: ‘Why can’t Catwoman save the world like Batman and Superman do? Why is she just saving women from a face cream that cracks their face off?’ But I was just the actor for hire. I wasn’t the director. I had very little say over that.”
The Oscar-winning actress went on to open up about some of the more disappointing moments in her career, including the time her James Bond character Jinx, had her spin-off movie axed.
“It was very disappointing,” she said. “It was ahead of its time. Nobody was ready to sink that kind of money into a Black female action star. They just weren’t sure of its value. That’s where we were then.”
However, rather than doing her spin-off film as her first project post-Oscars win, Berry chose to take part in the DC universe as anti-hero Catwoman, in the hope that it would lead to more diverse casting in the superhero genre.
“People said to me, ‘You can’t do that. You’ve just won the Oscar,'” she said. “Because I didn’t do Jinx, I thought, ‘This is a great chance for a woman of colour to be a superhero. Why wouldn’t I try this?’”.
Berry made history as the first Black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002. However, Berry has called out the many downsides to the accolade. According to Berry, her historic win was “one of [her] biggest heartbreaks,” because 18 years later, she continues to be the only Black woman to win Best Actress.
Since 2002, a number of Black women have won acting Oscars for their incredible performances—Jennifer Hudson, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Lupita Nyong’o, and most recently Regina King—but they were in the Supporting Actress category.
In the interview, she also discussed the obstacles she faced when she tried to score good roles after her win. “Just because I won an award doesn’t mean that, magically, the next day, there was a place for me.”
“I thought, ‘Oh, all these great scripts are going to come my way; these great directors are going to be banging on my door,’” she admitted.
“It didn’t happen. It actually got a little harder. They call it the Oscar curse.”
But it looks like the tide is turning, as Berry’s new film Bruised is her first directorial debut with herself in the lead role.
Here’s hoping that it doesn’t take another 18 years for another BIPOC actress to take out the top Oscars win.