Halle Berry finds new identity in “Frankie and Alice”


When Halle Berry won Best Actress at the 2002 Academy Awards, we expected great parts to start rolling in for the brilliant and beautiful actress.

However, with the exception of a couple of TV movies — Lackawanna Blues and Their Eyes Were Watching God — and the under promoted Things We Lost in the Fire, Berry has been hanging out mostly with mutants and spies and superheroes. Not that we mind.

Her latest movie, Frankie and Alice, may finally be the film that propels her back in to Oscar contention.

Berry plays Frankie Murdoch, a stripper with multiple personality disorder in the early 70s. One of her alters is white — and extremely racist. Phylicia Rashad plays her mom and Chandra Wilson is her sister.

Here’s the trailer.

Frankie and Alice is based on a true story that Berry has been trying to get to the screen for a decade. She wants to bring viewers face-to-face with the issues surrounding mental illness. Berry herself suffers from depression and believes that many people just don’t understand the effects of such illness.

"We should talk about it,” she told reporters. “I hope this movie incites people to talk about the issue. I see homeless people on the street and I think people think they’re just derelicts or drug addicts, but many of them really suffer with real mental issues."

Berry put in a lot of time researching Disassociative Identity Disorder and spent time with the real Frankie to prepare for the part. She’s dismissing the Oscar buzz, preferring to focus on the movie itself. She spoke to Robin Roberts about the film on Good Morning America Monday.

Despite Berry’s extensive preparation to portray DID accurately, she said she didn’t need much preparation to play the stripper side of the character.

“[There’s] not much research to play a stripper – you just kind of take your clothes off!” Halle laughed with Access Hollywood. “It’s kinda easy!”

Easy. If only.

Frankie and Alice premiers December 10, to qualify for 2010 awards, and opens in wide release in February. Do you think this may be Halle Berry’s next breakthrough role?

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