Life's Just Perfect; How Catwoman Stars Halle Berry and Sharon Stone Used the Movie to Get over Personal Heartacheron Stone Used the Movie to Get over Personal Heartache

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Byline: By John Millar

SEXY stars Halle Berry and Sharon Stone stand toe to toe when they battle it out in the big screen's cat fight of the summer, Catwoman.

Halle, whowon the Best Actress Academy Award for Monster's Ball, and Sharon, Oscar-nominated for Casino, are deadly enemies in this comic adventure. Sharon is the ruthless boss of a cosmetics empire who will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams,while Halle is a timid employee who magically becomes the super agile Catwoman. As Halle discovers Sharon's secret, the duo are fated to meet in a no holds barred fight to the end.

In London yesterday the stars talked to the Record about the movie and some big changes in their lives.

HALLE BERRY

HALLE BERRY couldn't wait to tell one very special person that she had got her claws into the much sought after role of Catwoman... her 11-year-old stepdaughter India.

The Oscar-winning star said she was bursting with excitement because she knew it would mean so much to the youngster.

'When I was offered the role I went straight home and told her and she celebrated because as a young woman, especially a woman of colour, even at the young age of 11, she knew the importance of that,'said Halle.

'She knew how happy I wasand in turn she was thrilled, not only because it was her stepmother who got the role but because she would get to see a powerful woman in one of these films because she was a fan of Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, now she would get to see Catwoman.

'She was happy and inspired and loved the movie.

'I asked if she was sure that wasn't just because it was her mom but she said no, she really enjoyed it.'

Apparently the action girl role couldn't have come at a better time for Halle, who is going through the pain of the break-up of her marriage to singer Eric Benet.

'What I've found is that projects always come my way that serve me best in real life,' she said.

'I needed to be Catwoman. I needed to take control of my life, and putting on that suit made it a whole lot easier.

'I felt empowered and strong and sexy, connected with myself as a woman.'

Halle, whohad experienced comic book movie success with the X-Men sensations, pushed herself through weeks of preparation for the movie, learning martial arts skills and studying cat behaviour.

Her most physically demanding scene was the spectacular cat fight with Sharon Stone that forms the film's dramatic climax.

'It took nine days to shoot that,' said Halle.

'It was pretty intense andwe worked a lot with our doubles because I really didn't want to take Sharon's teeth out.

'I'm not trained to do that type of thing so we welcomed the chance to work with each other's doubles and feel free to do our best.'

In the movie Halle plays a mousy girl who is transformed into the dynamic, sexy Catwoman after she accidentally stumbles upon the scary truth behind a cosmetics company's latest beauty cream.

AND Halle reckoned she was a mixture of the feline grace of one character and the loveable clumsiness of her alter ego.

'That's why the character is perfect for me,' she said.

'There have been times in my life when I didn't fit in or feel sure of myself.

'There have also been times when I was as fierce as a tiger and stood up for what I believed in and overcame great adversities.'

Luckily the actress has no cat allergies, because at times she has scenes when the felines are right in her face.

She said: 'I aman animal lover and it was great to work with all the cats.

'I even adopted one of the kittens.' Although she knows Catwoman is intended as a summer superhero romp, Halle insisted she was pleased that it also contained a message regarding society's obsession with youth and beauty.

'As women age in life we have been given this great burden of feeling that we have to search out the fountain of youth or else we are not accepted any more, we are not loved, we are not wanted, we are not appreciated,' she said. …