How Two Horror Movies Changed Halle Berry Forever

Halle Berry first exploded onto the film scene in 1991, starring in three major studio films: Spike Lee's drama "Jungle Fever," Kevin Hooks' comedy "Strictly Business," and Tony Scott's action spectacular "The Last Boy Scout." Since then, Berry's career has continued at an impressive clip, the actress having starred in high-profile comedies, Hollywood franchise pictures, animated films, and small indie dramas. She was in "The Flintstones," "X-Men," and was Catwoman. Berry is also, to date, the only Black woman to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Marc Forster's 2001 film "Monster's Ball"). Berry directed her first feature film in 2021 with "Bruised," in which she plays a former UFC fighter who has to rediscover her talents for headbutting creeps after burning out years before. Her most recent film, as of this writing, is Roland Emmerich's "Moonfall" in which Berry headbutts the Moon. 

Berry is also no stranger to horror and thrillers, having starred in "The Rich Man's Wife," "The Call," "Kidnap," "Perfect Stranger," and "Gothika." Two of those films, however, are particularly memorable, as those two films landed Berry in the hospital.


In 2002, Berry starred in Mathieu Kassovitz's "Gothika," a gloriously overproduced hunk of early-2000s cheese. In it, Berry plays a psychiatrist who is knocked out in a car wreck, and awakens to find herself imprisoned in the very clinic where she works. Her colleagues inform her that her husband was the victim of an axe murder, and that she is the prime suspect. She has no memory of this. What follows is a bizarre phantasmagoria of half-remembered events, things that may or may not be hallucinations, and a strong suspicion of drug- and psychiatry-induced gaslighting. 

During one of her scenes with co-star Robert Downey, Jr., Berry's character had to be restrained with her arms pinned behind her back. Downey grabbed Berry's arm and twisted it behind her back. The story goes that Downey immediately heard a loud pop, and realized in an instant that he had broken Berry's arm. the film's stunt coordinators weren't on set that day — it wasn't a stunt scene — and it happened very quickly, so no one was able to intervene. Production on "Gothika" was halted for several weeks while Berry recovered. 

How are Berry and Downey Getting Along?

While her co-star did break Berry's arm, she felt he wasn't quite contrite enough following the incident. Berry says she remembers very little of the moments she sustained the injury, and certainly doesn't recall ever hearing an apology. Downey claims that he did apologize, albeit briefly, and posits that both he and Berry understand that it was an unfortunate accident. As late as 2012, the two were still annoyed with each other. 

Word on the street is that Berry and Downey still aren't speaking to each other after the injury. 

The Call

In 2013, Berry starred in Brad Anderson's thriller "The Call," in which she played a 9-1-1 operator who finds herself on the phone with a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who is in the middle of being kidnapped. The bulk of the film is an over-the-phone conversation between the two characters about how to alert the police while one of them is hidden in the trunk of a kidnapper's Toyota Camry. Berry's character feels particularly driven to help Breslin, as Breslin's initial kidnapping call to 9-1-1 was cut off and Berry decided to call back ... giving away Breslin's location to the kidnapper. "The Call," then, begins with a bad call. 

"The Call" was a unique acting challenge for Berry, as a large portion of the film was essentially a 21-page monologue with Berry in the center of the frame the whole time, reacting to what was on the other end of the phone. A modern version of 1948's "Sorry, Wrong Number" with Barbara Stanwyck. Additionally, there was a scene of difficult fight choreography: By the film's climax, Breslin has been spirited away to the kidnapper's horrible torture chamber, and Berry has managed to leave the call center, track down Breslin's location, and confront the kidnapper. The ensuing fight scene was particularly brutal, and during the fight, Berry slammed her head directly into a concrete floor. 

Was She Okay?

After her head injury, Berry was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Hospital to have her head injury looked at. Luckily for Berry — and for us all — the injury proved not to be serious, and Berry was discharged that same day. It's unclear as to whether or not the shot in which Berry was injured was left in the final cut of the film, but it seems unlikely. 

Because the injury wasn't incredibly serious, Berry hasn't gone on record as to how she feels about her safety on set, nor had anything critical to say about her co-star in the scene Michael Eklund. "The Call" was an enormous hit earning over $68 million on a $13 million budget. It remains, to this day, the biggest hit for WWE studios, and Berry's biggest hit since the "X-Men" movies. 

There was a bad day on set that led to a trip to the hospital, but ultimately Berry took a more significant trip to the bank.