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Playing Jinx in Die Another Day, Halle Berry choked in the love scene with Pierce Brosnan, but the role wasnít hard to swallow, she tells Jenny Cooney Carrillo. Offered the role before her Oscar for Monsterís Ball, Berry reckons she would have taken the role anytime.†

You started the film as a Bond girl and ended it as an Oscar winner. How was that experience?
They offered me this part a few weeks after I finished shooting Monsterís Ball so nobody ever thought that my life would take that turn of events. But in all honesty even if I had already won the Oscar and then got offered the great role of Jinx, I still believe that I would have taken the role because I thought that it was that special. And going back to the Oscar, the beauty of going back to Bond was that my Bond family were there when I got the nomination and saw me through to the end so to come back a winner just made everybody really proud.

What did you think of your entrance in the film, coming out of the water in a bikini in slow motion?
Obviously we were paying homage to Ursula Andress (in Dr. No). It was a little bit daunting because that scene has sort of gone down in cinematic history and I knew that I could be compared but I realized it had to be in the movie because the 40th anniversary movie is all about paying homage to all the great moments of the movies of the past and how could you have that without such a great scene?

Could you relate to Jinx?
I think Iím pretty feisty like her but I donít do a lot of the fighting she does! I liked that they allowed me to bring a little of my own personality to the movie, which was an American feel to this British institution and that was really great. I normally have a good work-out routine but I did do a fair amount of extra cardio work and I worked out with weights and had to do some combat training and throw knives and shoot guns, which Iíve never done before.

How was your love scene with James Bond?
Pierce is a gorgeous man and very kind and generous so that was nice, and compared to Monsterís Ball the love scene was pretty tame except for the fact I choked! In the scene Iím on top of him Ė which I loved that Jinx is so empowering Ė and Iím supposed to get my knife and then tease him by cutting a fig and eating it while weíre making love. Well I must have been too sexy for my own good because the next thing I knew a piece of the fig lodged in my throat and Iím getting no air and Pierce said he knew I was choking because you always hear people coughing if theyíre OK but I couldnít make any noise at all. So he finally jumped behind me and did the Heimlich Maneuver and it came projecting out. Needless to say, we were done shooting the love scene!

How do you juggle your career with your marriage (to singer Eric Benet) and your role as mother to your stepdaughter India?
It takes a really good Palm Pilot! Iíll be honest: sometimes it gets really, really hard and something usually has to suffer. Sometimes itís my work, sometimes itís my family but something usually has to go without for a period of time while youíre focusing on something else and itís finding a proper balance. We do a fair amount of travelling to stay together as a family. I was just filming X-Men 2 in Vancouver and I flew home every weekend because I donít believe India should have to leave her school and friends and disrupt her life because of my choices. So Iíd rush out of work every Friday night to catch that last flight back to L.A. and everybody knew there was nothing that could keep me from going home.

Published December 19, 2002

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...in Die Another Day

...in Monster's Ball

...in X-Men

...in X-Men2 (Coming May 2003)

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