July 99 Interview - Halle Berry & Lela Rochon
Take Us Behind The Scenes Of Why Do Fools Fall In Love

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By Nasser Metcalf

Halle Berry has a magic wand - literally and figuratively.

As she walks into a posh Manhattan hotel suite, she reveals a plastic tube with an illuminating tip and a mystical sound emanating from it. She waves it around as if to cast a spell on the small gathering of journalists who have assembled to hear her, and announces that it is her "interview wand" which she will use it to cast away any "bad questions."

She’s already worked her magic on us though. Although we may be amused by her antics, we never forget that we are in the presence of a bona-fide star. Not a star in a pretentious way, but in the sense that she possesses a combination of charm, wit, confidence and talent that puts her in a category all her own.

Next enters Lela Rochon. As she walks in and approaches Halle, they embrace and greet each other with a sisterly "Hey Girl! You look nice." Often we hear about celebrities with over-inflated egos and the bitter Hollywood feuds they cause. Not here, not today. These women compliment and tease each other as only people with solid respect and love for one another could. How appropriate, since love is an integral part of the movie that they have come to discuss.

On Playing Rivals Despite Being Friends:
When asked how they were able to mask their friendship in order to portray on-screen rivals, their response is simple–it was work. Says Lela of Director Gregory Nava, "He was very clear with us about our characters and where we were coming from at that part of the story." Adds Halle, "It's nice when you can honestly like the people you're working with."

On Preparing for Their Roles:
Since the women portrayed in the movie are still living, the ladies were asked if they met with them to help prepare for their roles. Explains Halle, "I was afraid to meet with her and confuse myself even further. Then I would feel the responsibility to tell the story she said, and maybe that's not the story that Tina Andrews [the film’s screenwriter] wrote." But Lela noted that the real-life Emira Eagle "Loves the film and she's flying out to the premiere, so I'll get to meet her."

On Being Artificially Aged:
These beauties actually cringe when asked about the laborious make-up rituals they endured to age themselves along with their character. "It was awful, I think they went too far!" exclaims Lela. "We looked like Miss Jane Pittman," adds Halle.Halle's next project will realize her dream of bringing Dorothy Dandridge's life story to the screen. Ms. Berry is not only set to portray the legendary actress, but she is also executive producing the project. She can also be seen on video in Bulworth with Warren Beaty.Lela Rochon can currently be seen on video in the campy action flick Knock Off, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, and The Big Hit, with Mark Whalberg. She is also slated to produce her first film (The Charlotte Austin Story) and co-star with Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday later this year.


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