Thinking back to when she shot “Losing Isaiah” in Chicago in 1994, Halle Berry said “shooting that film today — now that I’m a mother — would have been a lot more challenging than when I actually did make that movie.”
The actress, now the mom to son Maceo, 3, and daughter Nahla, 9, has a new perspective on that project about a drug-addicted mother who throws away her baby.
“In 1994 I had yet to become a mother, but now that I am one, I instinctively feel that incredible pull and power of motherhood. So if I made ‘Losing Isaiah’ today, that role would have been quite the emotional roller coaster for me. It would have been hard to live through doing that.”
Berry was in town last week for the local premiere of “Kidnap,” her new film opening Friday. “My first stop generally is at Garrett’s Popcorn,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s 6 in the morning! I just always have the desire to drop by there. Whatever it is they flavor that ‘Chicago Mix’ popcorn with — it is SO addictive. It gives me such pleasure!”
Beyond Garrett’s famed snacks, Berry said she hopes to someday return to the city when “it’s the time for Taste of Chicago. I’ve only been once, and really want to come back again. It’s one of my favorite food festivals. I love to walk around eating everything that looks delicious. I like trying new flavors and educating myself about food. I’m not really a foodie myself, but when festivals like that come along, I like being right there.”
In “Kidnap,” Berry plays single mom and waitress Karla Dyson, who is clearly very devoted to her young son Frankie (played by Sage Correa). At a small carnival at a local park, Berry is distracted from watching her boy while taking an important call from her divorce attorney. In an instant she spots him being dragged into a old car that speeds off.
The film centers on Karla’s intense chase of the kidnappers, which Berry said showcases “what strong mama bears mothers can be, when the occasion calls for it.”
When she first read the script for “Kidnap,” it was an intense experience. “It pulled on my heartstrings and terrified the crap out of me. Women are, and have been for so long, the pillars of our families. So, to see a woman doing what women know how to do — when their kids are in danger — was one of the key reasons I wanted to make the movie.
“We’re so used to men saving the day — which is great too. I love it when men save the day, but women also can save the day. It was important for me to tell this story where a seemingly ordinary woman could be seen as an everyday hero.”
In real life, Berry has worked hard over the past few years to protect her children — and the kids of other famous people — not from kidnappers, but from individuals the actress said “steal something else that is important: celebrity children’s sense of feeling safe and having privacy.” After numerous occasions where Berry and her children were stalked by paparazzi, she took it upon herself to push for a law in California preventing photographers from chasing celebrities’ kids and being forced to maintain a proper distance from which they could shoot photos.
“I’m very proud we got that law on the books,” said Berry, who then revealed how difficult it was to enlist other celebrities to publicly support the proposed legislation. “I reached out to many, many friends and celebrities,” she explained as she praised Jennifer Garner “for being the only one of the people I contacted who agreed to testify in Sacramento [the California capital].”
As the Academy Award winner pointed out, “People say they’re in favor of the law but are afraid to criticize the press — even though those paparazzi are not really legitimate press. I think it’s all about a desire to continue to be given public attention, even if it’s a threat to their kids. … Frankly, I’ll never understand that.
“The good news: We got the law passed.”