What happens when the one thing you were ever good at falls out from under you? When you have to contend with personal troubles and climb back up that mountain? These are the questions that are the basis of many a sports movie and with good reason. The desire to see someone who’s lost it all regain their former glory and their sense of self-worth is an understandable one. After all, there’s a reason the Rocky franchise is still capable of generating excitement for its eighth entry.
Set to tackle these familiar beats once more is Bruised, an upcoming MMA (mixed martial arts) drama starring Halle Berry. But that’s not all. According to a report over at Deadline, Berry will also be making her directorial debut with the film, with a script from Michelle Rosenfarb. The report also contains a plot synopsis for the upcoming film:
“The plot follows Jackie “Justice,” a disgraced MMA fighter who has failed at the one thing she’s ever been good at – fighting. When 6-year-old Manny, the son she walked out on years ago, returns to her doorstep, Jackie has to conquer her own demons, face one of the fiercest rising stars of the MMA world, and ultimately fight to become the mother this kid deserves.”
And perhaps most exciting of all is that Berry will be enlisting the help of the fight choreographers behind the John Wick series. The actress will, of course, be very much familiar with that team, having worked with them on the upcoming John Wick 3: Parabellum, which Berry described as being her “most physically challenging role to date” in a recent Instagram post.
While I’m not exactly a fan of MMA myself, there’s certainly something fascinating to me about why somebody would choose to put themselves through that. And in such a competitive sport, the pressure faced in being considered the best of the best must be incredibly daunting. And to have all of that taken away in one single moment would be a monumental setback.
Plus if you’re going to bring MMA to the big screen, you could do a lot worse than getting the John Wick team on board. Those movies are a breath of fresh air in a world full of CGI action scenes, and the people behind those fights are perhaps the best for the job of realistically portraying the brutal sport.
This news also represents an exciting turn in Berry’s career, one that could see her transition into an action star. While nobody can doubt her talent (her Oscar-winning role in Monster’s Ball speaks for itself), the actress was saddled with some thankless roles in the following years, in which she rarely got to show her skills. But between this and what we can only expect is an action-heavy role in John Wick 3, we could be in for something of a Halle Berry resurgence. As long as that movie doesn’t woefully underutilize her, as Kingsman: The Golden Circle did last year.
In addition to this, Berry is also the latest big name actor to give directing a shot. I’m always intrigued to see what actors will do when they step into the director’s chair, as they’ve often spent years getting an up-close look at how the process works. And while not every case of an actor turned director is successful, it’s always exciting to see what somebody who’s spent years on the other side will bring to the job.
Bruised has my attention even though we know very little about it. I’m sure we’ll have more to anticipate about the movie by the time it enters production in March, but for now, this is one worth keeping an eye on.