In preparation for her role as 911 operator Jordan Turner in the new thriller "The Call," Halle Berry went into the field to research the oft-unheralded profession - only to come away shaken after listening to one particularly horrifying real-life call.
"I heard one call that I will never forget," Berry told me at the film's recent press junket. "I heard a woman being raped. And the perpetrator didn't know that she had called 911 and that the line was open, and she went through a rape, and the 911 operator was listening for most of it until it got disconnected. And so you don't know what happened."
The above scenario is somewhat similar to one that occurs in the first act of the forthcoming Brad Anderson-directed film - though in the latter case we actually learn the ultimate fate of the young victim (hint: it's not good). The tense scene, which involves Jordan handling a call about a home intruder, is important in setting up the character in that it takes her from confident, cool-headed dispatcher to guilt-ridden basket case. It also gives her a personal stake in the call that serves as the film's centerpiece.
"It does start off where she's a bit broken in a way and somewhat defeated," said Berry. "And throughout the movie, she finds a way to get her power back and at the end of the day redeem herself while trying to save a little girl [a kidnap victim played by Abigail Breslin]. She was just as much saving herself as she was saving the little girl, which is what allowed her to do what 911 operators just never do."
In other words: don't expect Berry to remain behind a desk for the entire film. She gets to kick some butt too.
Check out the rest of the interview in the video above.
"The Call" hits theaters this Friday.