Halle Berry‘s film, Bruised, will always hold a special place in her heart.
The actress starred and made her directorial debut with the drama, and told ET’s Rachel Smith that her kids were the reason she got behind the camera for the first time.
“When I read this script it just grabbed me. I intrinsically understood all the characters, I understood their brokenness, I understand what it is to fight for second chances, last chances. I understand what it is to be a mother and try to be a working mom and how hard that can be,” she expressed. “There’s just so many elements to this movie that I just connected to and I couldn’t let it go once I read the screenplay.”
Bruised follows Berry as Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter seeking redemption.
“I just couldn’t let this go and I had a great love of MMA at the time when the script came my way,” Berry expressed. “I grown up being a huge fan of boxing. I always loved a good fight film. I love that quality of people finding redemption and forgiveness and rising above all the odds. I always feel good when I see moves like this.”
And being a mother to two children — Nahla, 13 and Maceo, 8 — Berry said motherhood has also changed the fight for her.
“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my children, and what I think Jackie Justice learned is that we will go really far for our children. There’s things that I do that I would never do for myself, but I do for my children and that’s how motherhood has changed me,” she expressed. “And having my children now is the reason I’m even directing because I have to keep going. I have to keep discovering more facets of who I am. I have to keep trying to make them proud. I have to keep modeling for them someone who’s alive and very involved in their career and as a woman, as a Black woman.”
“I need to model for them what that looks like, so they’ve changed my game since the minute they got here,” she added.
Berry, meanwhile, couldn’t have been happier to have UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko as part of Bruised.
“Oh my god! Dream come true and I don’t think it’s ever happened before where the reigning champion took time to be in the movie,” she said. “Usually these are things they do when they are gonna retire and they’re transitioning into something else. So for her to give me her time at the height of her career, and come make a movie with me, and train me and teach me and have fun with me, it was a real honor to be able to get her.”
Berry also got to work with her boyfriend, Van Hunt, on the film’s soundtrack, which includes a large number of female artists, including Cardi B.
“The queen herself! Like, there is nobody better than Cardi. When I reached out, I sent Cardi the film when we finished it and — who wouldn’t want Cardi B to join forces with you — so I sent the film to Cardi and to my surprise, again like Valentina, she was like, ‘Yes! I’m down. Yes, let’s do this’! And I said, let’s make a little bit of history. There’s never been an all-female hip-hop album before and I was like, ‘Why has no one done this?'”
For more on Berry, watch below. Bruised is in theaters and now streaming on Netflix.