The PPP Foundation (Plight of the Pretty People Foundation) was founded recently by Charlize Theron, Jessica Biel and Kit Harington (no, it wasn’t) to bring awareness to all of the eyeball-burning hot actors who have a hard time getting roles because casting directors can’t look past their gorgeous beauty. Halle Berry may join the board soon.
Charlize summoned a tidal wave of eye rolls when she cried that none of the meaty roles in movies are written for a “gorgeous, gown-wearing eight-foot model,” and Halle didn’t exactly echo that, but she did say she had to prove that she’s more than just a stunning goddess of beauty.
Halle went into the acting world from the beauty pageant world, and told W Magazine that she didn’t want to be typecast as the pretty girl, so she purposefully went after roles where she’d have to de-glam herself. Halle’s first acting role was in the short-lived “too good for this world” 80s sitcom Living Dolls. Halle’s first movie role was as Vivian the crack whore in Jungle Fever and she says she had to beg Spike Lee to let her audition for it.
A television series called “Living Dolls” back in the late ’80s. [And I got that job. Scariest day of my life. I actually got my first job with my first audition. Luckily for me that show was very short-lived. It got canceled 13 weeks in, and then I got off on my movie career and my next job was with Spike Lee in Jungle Fever.
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.” I said, “I am the crack ho. Really deep down I’m the crack ho!” And he was like, “No, I don’t see it.” And I said, “Let me go in the bathroom, wash all this makeup off; you will see eyeing the crack ho.” 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.
I wish that back-and-forth was on the DVD extras for Jungle Fever, because I want Halle saying, “Really deep down I’m the crack ho!“, as my ringtone.
Halle really showed her amateur ways by begging Spike Lee to be the crack ho. A true actor doesn’t beg to be the crack ho, they become the crack ho. If Daniel Day-Lewis wanted that role, he would’ve come into the audition cracked out and with his face covered with the dried jizz of a john he sucked off in the parking lot for crack. He wouldn’t have read for the role either. He would’ve offered Spike Lee a rim job in exchange for the role and some crack. That’s how a real thespian does it!
Halle also said that Lee Daniels was grossed out by the idea of the gorgeous Halle Berry playing the role that got her an Oscar, and she had to do what she did with Spike Lee: beg him for a chance.
It was intentional to not play the gorgeous girl. I came from the world of beauty pageants and modeling and right away when people heard that I got discounted as an actor. So, I had the job of trying to eliminate that part of my persona, and Spike gave me a chance to do that. And I took on roles early on that really didn’t rely on my physical self at all and that was a good way to sort of get some credibility within my industry.
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.
Thank all the gods that Lee Daniels gave her a shot, because if he didn’t, she wouldn’t have won an Oscar and she probably wouldn’t have starred in Catwoman! But back to Halle’s first role….
How dare Halle have the audacity to hate on Living Dolls. Starring in an 80s sitcom with Michael Learned that’s a spin-off of Who’s The Boss and is about teen models IS the very definition of “making it.”
Pic: W Magazine