Halle Berry is on a mission. She’s determined to keep children safe. The Academy Award winner’s latest thriller Kidnap follows Karla, a single mother who goes on a terrifying chase to rescue her six-year old son, Frankie (Sage Correa). It’s a story that struck a cord in the 50-year old’s heart.
“Being a mother of two when this script found me, I related to it right away,” Berry explained. “I mean, the thought of having my child snatched in front of me, close enough to see it but too far to do anything about it was terrifying, and I related to it. I knew that I could bring this character and the emotions of this character to life. It seemed like a no-brainer because it’s close to home.”
Though the film follows a mother experiencing one of the most horrifying moments of her life, Berry says that the overall message of Kidnap is about giving the voiceless a platform to speak their truth.
“I wanted to tell this story because it’s about female empowerment. It’s the first movie under my production company 606 Films,” she said. “That’s the 606 Senate bill that I got passed— the anti-paparazzi stalking law that protects my kids. It’s very much a company that I want to use to empower women, women of color and tell stories that are meaningful to us. This script sits right squarely in that philosophy.”
In Kidnap, the veteran actress spends lots of time alone on screen making the film just as emotionally tumultuous as it was physically taxing.
“The hardest part for me was acting without a partner. My minivan was my costar for a lot of the movie, and that I knew would be a challenge— another reason I wanted to do the movie, ” Berry expressed. “I’d never done that before. That’s what I worked on every day because that’s the only way we could tell the story. That’s always tricky, having to talk to yourself.”
Despite the revisiting storyline, it took Kidnap quite a bit of time to make it to the big screen. Scheduling and financial issues with the film’s initial distribution company delayed its release for nearly two years. Now, with conversations surrounding missing Black children throughout the country and the birth of the #FindOurGirls campaign, Kidnap seems more poignant than ever.
“It’s what’s happening in our communities right now. You have hundreds of kids kidnapped every year for various reasons, and I think it’s a good time to start the conversation, to think about ways that we can better protect our children as parents,” Berry said passionately. “Maybe [we] start putting our kids through a little bit of a role play and really making sure that they understand what it looks like to be kidnapped. Many kids think that it’s going to be some scary person that’s going to come up, and you’re going to know it’s the kidnapper. But actually, it’s not that at all. I think this can be a call-to-action to really try to educate our children better. I think it will hit home because of what’s happening in the news right now with children and people and women being taken.”
The explosive nature of Kidnap did not stop the X-Men alum from bonding with Correa— her pint-sized co-star. In fact, it was their close bond that made the themes of Kidnap even more visceral for Berry.
“We have an amazing bond. When I met him in the audition, he was always my favorite. He was my pick simply because I connected with him in the audition, ” she said wistfully. “Once he got the part, we started to hang out. I took him to see a movie, and he met my daughter. They were the same age, so they quickly became really good friends and would play together in the trailer, [they] would do stuff and go to Disneyland. Bonding with him was very easy, and I quickly became maternal. He was asked to do things that could be issues for little kids, and I just always wanted to make sure that he was taken care of, and he knew it was make-believe, and he was always treated with care.”
Kidnap debuts in theaters Aug. 4, 2017