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Halle Berry Reiterates Her Strong Desire To Bring Angela Davis' Life Story To The Big Screen

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by Courtney
October 29, 2012 7:33 PM
41 Comments
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Angela Davis

It was in January 2011, almost 2 years ago, that Halle Berry first voiced her interest in exploring the life of Angela Davis on screen in a scripted film; in an issue of Jet magazine, January 2011, which included an interview with Halle Berry, she said the following:

“I’ll probably never get to play it in my life and I am going to be sad until the day I die, but I really want to play Angela Davis-badly. So badly. I just think she’s fascinating and I think I would love to tell a story from her perspective about that time in our history and what it was all about with the black panthers.“

Skip ahead to this month, to the most recent issue of In Style magazine, which also included an interview with Halle with the following:

"Her story is so fascinating. I would love to bring it to the screen. I would pick her brain to have a better understanding of her affiliation with the Black Panthers and that period from the 1960s." The movie Berry hopes to make would also explore Davis' communist beliefs - she also ran as the U.S. vice presidential candidate for the Communist Party USA.

Given that she continues to mention it, almost 2 years later, one can only assume that she's taken the necessary steps to actually give the idea life. It would be somewhat pointless to be so passionately vocal about it, as she seems to be from both interviews, and not act on the idea. She's certainly in a position to do that - meet with Angela Davis and have a conversation about it and see where it leads.

There was a rumor last year, that she had indeed met with Davis prior to the Jet magazine interview, but Davis wouldn't sign over her life rights to Halle. Again, it's an unsubstantiated claim, so take that with a grain of salt.

But surely Angela Davis is aware of Halle's interest, since she's been public about it. 

If it's something that's going to happen, it'll have to be soon, because Halle's getting older, as we all are, and if this is a film that documents the most dramatic, well-known years of Angela Davis' public life (mid-60s to the early 70s), Halle wouldn't be able to play the part, because Davis was in her 20s during that period in our history.

And while Halle looks undeniably great at 46, could she pass for a 24 to 30-year-old right now?

Unless she plans to instead produce the project, while some young up-and-comer stars in the film.

Or she'll instead focus on Angela's life after the trial that would catapult the then 26 year-old newly-appointed philosophy professor at the University of California at Los Angeles into a 1970s revolutionary icon.

Of course, there's always the likelihood that she'd face the wrath of *the people* who may prefer to see another actress in the part.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Shola Lynch's documentary, Free Angela & All Political Prisoners, which made its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, a feature-length doc about the period, movement, and trial that Halle Berry's film would cover.

Last year's acclaimed doc The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, also touched a bit on the matter.

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41 Comments

  • Ahsoka23 | July 21, 2014 12:47 PMReply

    I would love to play Angela Davis in a biopic. I think I could pull off that role. If they are making this film I need to find out who is doing the casting and where I need to go to audition for the role.

  • joy karen | July 10, 2014 12:02 AMReply

    either you ARE halle herself or your head is so far upwards that you cannot see straight. you defend her with a whole lot of vitriolic passion; yet, oddly, you never addressed anything that was said other than that. having a debate must be difficult for you; and, just because you say it does NOT make it true. so, if anyone is embarrassing himself, it is you because anything said against halle's movies surely brings out the fight in you when, in fact, you are the one who needs to just sit down.

  • joy karen | July 5, 2014 9:24 PMReply

    @CHILL- first, i am darker than any one you will ever see. the girl chosen to play dorothy's daughter was portrayed as a burden to dorothy because of what was written for her to say and act out about. also, long before HBO brought shonda rimes onto the writing scene, ever hear of SCOTT ABBOTT, the guy who wrote the walter winchell story? [of course you haven't, so you don't know the story behind any of this--how he was the first writer for this dandridge debacle]; it is clear from your mean spirited and not too well thought out comments that halle berry is now writing under the name "Chill" . let's see if "halle" is ever chosen for the angela davis biopic because bulworth isn't casting the davis story and halle has different competition now for this role."wrote" goes with past tense and not past participle. Bye Felicia. I mean Halle.

  • Chill Joy | July 6, 2014 12:33 PM

    So, because I took you to task on your ignorant and nonsensical comments, I have to be Halle now? Please be silent and move on. You've embarrassed yourself enough. Good day.

  • joy karen | July 5, 2014 5:47 PMReply

    did any of you see what damage halle berry did to the biopic of dorothy dandridge? she made dorothy look sheap and crazy; made dorothy's sister look like a drunken jealous idiot and made the worst person in her life, a white man, otto preminger, look like dorothy's savior instead of the one who had brought dorothy to the brink and made her husband, harold nicholas, look like racism had nothing to do withdorothy's demise, but rather it was ALL harold nicholas' fault. halle even chose the worst child to portray dorothy's daughter [diagnosed as retarded since birth] and made her appear to be a burden to dorothy when, in reality, this child was actually a beautiful little girl as her pictures would attest. what halle berry did to the story of dorothy dandridge is unconscionable. and halle is not above taking whatever she wants so if there is anyone out there with a script for the angela davis' story, DO NOT SEND IT TO HALLE or halle will end up claiming it as her own and changing it to be completely ridiculous.

  • Chill | July 5, 2014 7:50 PM

    Blah, blah, blah. Yes, because Halle Berry had creative control over every single aspect of the film that you didn't like, right? Interesting how you chose not to mention the director, Martha Coolidge, or the 2nd producer, Larry Y Albucher. Or perhaps the writer, none other than our very own Shonda Rhimes? We've all seen those melodramatic, frenzied plotlines and characterizations, right? But on to my next point.....

    1. At point was Dorothy made to look "cheap and crazy?" Perhaps a little too fragile and vulnerable at times, but "cheap and crazy?"

    2. Her sister was portrayed as a tad bit on the bitter side, but there was only one scene where she was "drunken and jealous." And even then, we see other scenes of her supporting and encouraging Dorothy.

    3. How was Otto Preminger portrayed as a "savior" at any point? He was somewhat integral in her rise to super stardom as "Carmen Jones," but the film makes it clear that he is, in fact responsible for her decline, including his persuading her to turn down her role in "The King & I."

    4. How did the film make Harold Nicholas as having ANY part in Dorothy's demise? He disappears early in the film, and long before Dorothy's rise to fame.

    5. Wow. How did Halle choose the "worst child" to portray Dorothy's daughter? So, because the actress chosen was dark-skinned, she wasn't a beautiful enough girl to play Dorothy's daughter. What a shameful and embarrassing statement.

    6. Either you didn't pay attention to the movie, or you're just not wrapped too tight. Nothing you've wrote makes the least bit of sense, except your ignorantly misplaced "colorism complex."

    Sorry, but you're the only "ridiculous" one here. I'm not even the biggest Halle fan, but some of you all will look for any excuse to throw this woman under the bus. Girl, bye! Log off and get some rest.

  • Josh | October 31, 2012 5:21 PMReply

    I also want Taraji to play Tammi Terrell in a biopic

  • Josh | October 31, 2012 5:19 PMReply

    I would like to see Taraji P. Henson play Angela Davis in a biopic about her life. Taraji would kill it. I could really see her doing Angela Davis justice.

  • urbanauteur | October 31, 2012 8:14 PM

    That's a very interesting choice;-)

  • Orville | October 30, 2012 5:48 PMReply

    Is this biopic going to explore the fact Angela Davis is a lesbian? I sincerely hope so because if this biopic ignores the fact Angela is now gay and has had lesbian relationships then it is ignoring a critical and important part of her history. Far too often, black icons homosexuality is trapped in the closet. Malcolm X was a gay hustler when he was young yet Spike Lee's film didn't really explore Malcolm's homosexual experiences. So, if Halle wants to produce this biopic about Angela Davis I sincerely hope she does not ignore Angela's lesbianism despite some sections of the black community being homophobic and anti gay.

  • dee | November 5, 2012 3:55 PM

    Unless she was a trailblazer for gay rights, I don't see why her sexual experiences would be more important than her political one. The fact that she is or may be gay is really irrelevant.

  • AccidentalVisitor | October 30, 2012 6:18 PM

    Even if you believe that Malcolm was a gay hustler based upon the work of some new book, how can you blame Spike for not including the details in a film he did about 20 years ago? Spike was going strictly by the Alex Haley biography of Malcolm and perhaps any info he got from Betty Shabazz.

  • Orville | October 30, 2012 5:45 PMReply

    Halle should just produce the film and not star find a younger black actress to be the lead.

  • Donella | October 30, 2012 3:34 PMReply

    I think Halle should produce for a younger, upcoming actress. She's revealed herself as a great producer and I believe she has the wherewithal to get the job done.

  • LeonRaymond | October 30, 2012 12:12 PMReply

    EXCUSE ME!

    Ass hole

    if you even read what I wrote, I said it may take a different person to play that part, some one through deep casting who bring the depth and power she represents. What I said had nothing to do with gender, being gay, being anything but a superb actresses for this role.
    Angela was just not ordinary figure that can be postage stamped portrayed.

    Even on the Black Power Mix Tape you can see Ronald Reagan calling for her capture and death. And a lot of producers are still lovers of who he was as a figure and a lot of producers won't touch this so it would take soldiers to raise money for this. The same folk who funded Spike Lee's X. I am just not sure Halle could bring the depth to this role but it needs a deep seeded actress that might not be the usual selection.

  • Mark & Darla | October 31, 2012 10:54 AM

    Through acting Carroll O’Connor exemplify the most outrageous characteristic of a poor middle age bigot yet in life he was a liberal.
    Alan Alda played and also in life a liberal and atheist and yet he has no problem playing a neocon conservative.
    I doubt Halle would have any problem portraying Angela Davis personal characteristics, from where I sit Halle is one dam good actress.

  • Excuse Me | October 30, 2012 9:41 PM

    YOOHOO... Leon Raymond, it has been over 9 hours, have you come to your good sense, yet? Do you still believe an actor and a producer has to be emotionally attached to the subject matter, as a requirement to do their jobs? Do you still believe that only "soldiers" invest in productions centered on revolutionaries? Do you understand and accept the fact that actors are required to play a character's life who may have no resemblance - WHAT-SO-EVER - to their own personal lives? Or, are you still too embarrassed to say that you made a mistake?

  • Excuse Me | October 30, 2012 5:55 PM

    Please settle down. I know it's unsettling to have your comments put into question but enough of the name calling. I was only asking how you surmised that an actor's own personal spirit, lifestyle and political affiliations has to embody that of the person they're portraying? As I said, it's called acting for a reason. Also, for you to imply that "producers" have to be emotionally attached to the subjects in which they are considering investing their money, is totally ridiculous. You compounded your silly rhetoric by saying that if a white director was born during the Ronald Reagan administration, he would automatically be disqualify because they would harbor the exact political views as Ronald Reagan. C'mon Leon, that conjecture is as stupid and thoughtless as saying all white people agreed with the administrations that lead us into the Vietnam and Iraq wars. I know plenty about U.S. History, investments and the soul of an actor. You? Do you know when to admit that you may have spoke out of place?

  • LeonRaymond | October 30, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    @EXCUSE ME! -You fool, why cause it's not in your history books that have revisionist history. Go and ask any BBP Member who told me that? only an ass hole would state such an ass hole response. You don't know Black History and you damn sure are clue less about acting!!!

  • lauren | October 30, 2012 12:44 AMReply

    Waiting to hear the alarm's shrill ring from the color police around here... seeing how Halle Berry is darker then Angela Davis!!! And her teeth are different too!!!

  • bondgirl | October 30, 2012 7:08 PM

    @Nadine: "Our future" is primarily dependent upon strategic actions. That solvency can be accomplished by shutting out the white noise of apologists, even when they look just like us.

  • lauren | October 30, 2012 5:13 PM

    @Nadine... all you have to do is read the vitriol spewed by LeonRaymond's above post to see the atmosphere is becoming more and more toxic... unconstructive and just plain rude. Starting to think it's a whole lot healthier to check S&A for upcoming films etc and not read the comments.

  • Nadine | October 30, 2012 3:39 PM

    @Lauren - I understand. Everything is getting more and more absurd isn't it. I don't know what's going on or if it is getting better or worse, but I do understand the passion behind the statements of those who feel wronged by the Colorism/casting issues. I am aware that we are at a crossroads. If things don't get handled now, our future is NOT going to be pretty.

  • bondgirl | October 30, 2012 3:19 PM

    Halle Berry is playing a white Jewess in her curent film. Get a better sarcastic example.

  • lauren | October 30, 2012 10:52 AM

    @Nadine...Hey, just poking fun at some of the more absurd comments around here...

  • Nadine | October 30, 2012 2:28 AM

    Hmmm...mocking racism. Yes, because there really are no issues of Colorism (those who benefit and those at its mercy), women and entertainment in this country. Okay Lauren. Why don't we cast Viola Davis? What? That wouldn't make sense? I don't understand...

  • lauren | October 30, 2012 12:44 AM

    *than...

  • LeonRaymond | October 29, 2012 11:35 PMReply

    You would have to bring in some one from Angela's past, some one who she would trust to sign over her life rights to, to be able to make this real. It could not in any way shape or form be a white person. It would have to be like I said a real BASTARD OF THE PARTY some one who could elicit trust. Angela would have to have script approval, you could get one of the best to write it but she must have script say and final approval. Angela should be able to approve casting choices and Halle needs to let this dream go and just sign on as producer. Understand Angela at 20 would whip present day Halle's ass in everything. So you need to cast from here to earth's end to find Angela's soul twin. Pam Grier always played a Hollywood version of Angela on the screen and that was softened down greatly. So it would have to be the real deal this time.

  • Carl | October 29, 2012 11:08 PMReply

    "Of course, there's always the likelihood that she'd face the wrath of *the people* who may prefer to see another actress in the part" **IN WALKS ALM AND THE REST OF THE ANTI-ZOE & ANTI-HALLE YAPPERS OF *the people*. "Halle Berry as Angela Davis = No, no, no, no, ma'am, because I said so"

  • ALM | October 29, 2012 11:56 PM

    Welcome, Carl. LOL I am not anti-Halle. I have read some of Angela Davis's work, and Halle doesn't seem to have the depth/range to tackle an icon of Ms. Davis' stature.

  • B | October 29, 2012 10:54 PMReply

    I'm gonna need Halle to go sit the heck down with that nonsense. Goodness, what's wrong with some of these women in Hollywood? Do they have no sense of what roles are appropriate for them? Jeez.

  • Banta | October 30, 2012 4:07 AM

    Dear B. You are a hater. That's all.

  • LeonRaymond | October 29, 2012 10:52 PMReply

    Hold on, Nothing against Halle paying her but truly, I don't know if she could truly do it justice, not because of not being right but we who were BASTARDS OF THE PARTY, us who came from BPP into the entertainment industry, who could really play that part. Angela came into a book store when I was a student while working in Harlem and just casual she was so deep and rock hard for the revolution and just so damn way ahead of her time. She would just rattle off History relating to Africa to China to Russia like it was child's play. And then switch gears and talk about Black Love and relationships with an intense knowledge. She was a Sage even at a young age. Who the hell could play that role. To be honest you might have to go out of Hollywood, Jurnee, come on, that's a child, you need some one who know what it truly is to be close or knowledge of a shoot out and write these letters to George Jackson and Jonathan Jackson. Angela was able to get in your skin and make you know fighting against Racism was worth the death if it came down to it. Who could play that role. Think about it. Think hard before you suggest the usual suspects of actresses. You going to have to do a world wide search. I am all for Halle being a producer to get the wheels going under this project cause No white producer would take this on. None. most of those producers still adore Ronald Reagan who tried to send her to the gas chamber before Communist China stepped in. So count them out. Be careful before you toss Halle out as producer. This project truly needs folks like those who wrote a check for Spike Lee when he ran out of money during the filming of X You are going to need soldiers for this one.

  • Banta | October 30, 2012 4:06 AM

    Dear Excuse Me. You are annoying. That's all.

  • Excuse Me! | October 29, 2012 11:32 PM

    Leon Raymond, it's called acting, my good man! Your guidelines are reminiscent of the Jim Crow voting laws. Are you implying that an actor has to have a high IQ before they can play a "deep" and knowledgeable person? Can a straight man play a gay man? Can an actor with a high school education play a brain surgeon? You know it's been done, right? Please, practice what you preach "Think about it. Think hard, very hard, before you make such paper thin suggestions". I mean, really "most of those [white] producers still adore Ronald Reagan who tried to send her to the gas chamber before Communist China stepped in? Really!? Who told you that? Find them, slap them, kick their ass b/c they're fkin' with you. Really... Think about it. Think hard, very hard, before you make such silly and unsubstantiated comments.

  • davidyung | October 29, 2012 8:44 PMReply

    No doubt about it that Jurnee Smollett should play Angela Davis. Angela Davis is her godmother! Halle should produce this piece for Jurnee.

  • dee | November 5, 2012 4:03 PM

    good suggestion. Maybe Halle could direct and play the older version...

  • XYZ | October 30, 2012 2:50 PM

    Jurnee Smollett can tackle it.

  • Monique a. Williams | October 30, 2012 11:44 AM

    Yessssss! I came on just to post my recommendation for Jurnee Smollett! She was born for this part!

  • ALM | October 29, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    Angela Davis= an icon, a genius, and a pivotal and often ignored figure in American history. Halle Berry as Angela Davis= No, no, no, no, ma'am.

  • joy karen | July 5, 2014 9:16 PM

    tried to say something similar to what you have expressed here, but was literally cursed out by a halle berry fan [see above]. but i do not believe halle should ever be considered for a role such as angela davis. EVER!

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