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‘Swordfish’ at 20: Halle Berry’s $500,000 moment in the 2001 action film

Traditionally, major movie actors avoid roles that involve excessive nudity. But that’s precisely why Halle Berry chose to star in Swordfish, a hacker-themed action film that debuted in theaters 20 years ago on June 8, 2001. Berry’s mystery woman, Ginger Knowles, meets Jackman’s super-hacker, Stanley Jobson, midway through the Joel Silver-produced movie, which also stars John Travolta and Hugh Jackman, by dropping her book and revealing that she’s topless.

It was Berry’s first scene, and the actress was fully aware that it would be the only thing about the film that people would speak about. Swordfish director Dominic Sena disclosed that Berry was given an extra $500,000 — “$250,000 per breast,” he reportedly added — on top of her $2.5 million compensation to strip down to her underwear.

That’s a well stated fact that Berry has always refuted. In 2001, she told The New York Times Magazine, “If I were charging for them, it would cost a lot more than $500,000.” Despite this, she has never expressed regret for having Swordfish on her resume. She later told CNN, “It was such gratuitous nudity, and some people have a problem with it.” “I knew it was unnecessary while I was developing Swordfish. I never tried to justify it.”

Swordfish received mixed reviews at the time, with many critics citing Berry’s topless sequence as an illustration of the film’s excessive excesses. “Despite the existence of Halle Berry’s breasts, Hugh Jackman’s towel, and John Travolta’s soul-patch, the mind-numbing cyberspace thriller Swordfish nevertheless leaves us wondering: ‘Is that all there is?’” sniffed Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle.

When viewed today, the picture appears to be stuck between the conclusion of one era of big-budget filmmaking and the beginning of another. Swordfish, which was released two years after The Matrix, which was also produced by Silver, revolutionised Hollywood action choreography, plagiarizes many of the gimmicks from that film, including its famous “bullet time” effect. Meanwhile, both Berry and Jackman were riding high on the success of the first X-Men film, which established comic book adaptations as Hollywood’s most popular blockbuster fare.

At the same time, Skip Woods’ writing is blatantly modeled after the bombastic action movies of the 1980s and 1990s – think Commando and The Last Boy Scout from Silver. Travolta plays Gabriel Shear, the chief of a top-secret organization that, depending on how you read his pompous monologues, either fosters or prevents terrorism.

Gabriel asks his accomplice, Ginger, to recruit Stanley from his post-prison exile and assist him in his latest scheme: recovering funds from the defunct DEA drug-money laundering program Operation Swordfish after his usual hacker is captured by the FBI — led by Don Cheadle’s easily-frustrated agent. Ginger, on the other hand, could not be who she appears to be. She discloses to Stanley midway through the film that she is an undercover DEA agent whose life is on the line if her cover is discovered.

Because gratuitous nudity was a staple of Silver’s 1980s action films, it’s no surprise that he made it a point to include it in Swordfish. Berry, who had a small role as an exotic dancer in The Last Boy Scout, claimed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2001 that he aggressively encouraged her to make this the film where she reinvented her cinematic persona.

Silver stated, “I’ve known Halle for years, and I believed it was time for her to accomplish this.” “I think it’s appropriate for the character and profitable for the studio.” On that last point, he wasn’t entirely wrong: Swordfish concluded its theatrical run with a good $150 million worldwide gross, despite being swamped by summer blockbusters like The Mummy Returns, Jurassic Park III, and Pearl Harbor.

Berry had her own motives for accepting Silver’s offer, none of which included $500,000. Aside from X-box Men’s office triumph, the actress recently won her first Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her role in the HBO film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which is based on the life of the pioneer Black singer and actress. With those honors under her belt, Berry felt empowered to explore things she had avoided as a younger performer in the industry. “I finally felt like I didn’t have to prove myself anymore after the success of my Dorothy Dandridge project and the critical acclaim it garnered me,” she told EW.

Berry expressed her delight in performing the “hot girl” role in another interview with Cinema.com. “It’s the first time I’ve fully explored that side of myself on TV. For years, I said, “No, no, no,” and a lot of it was because I was uncomfortable with myself, fearful of what others might think. Finally, in the last couple of years of my life, I’ve been able to let go of all of my problems, and I’m extremely happy about it.” She also took advantage of the chance to clarify Sena’s remark about her $500,000 bonus. “I’d get a lot more money for these babies.”

Swordfish may even be argued to be the reason Berry earned her first Academy Award. Six months after the film was released, the actress reprised her role as the distraught widow of a Death Row inmate (Sean Combs) who falls connected with the prison officer (Billy Bob Thornton) who assisted in his execution in Marc Forster’s acclaimed drama Monster’s Ball. Both performers were had to strip down for a rough sex scene that was a far cry from Swordfish’s Maxim-level topless scene.

Berry, on the other hand, made it obvious that one film would not have been possible without the other. She told the New York Times Magazine, “I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do the sex scene in Monster’s Ball if I hadn’t displayed my breasts in Swordfish.” “The sex scene was shot on Day 19 of a 21-day session. Billy Bob and I dated for three weeks and then had sex, I always say. The sex scene terrified me, but courage comes in weird packages. When I look at it today, I say to myself, ‘Who is that girl up there?’

Monster’s Ball, which was released on December 26, 2001, became a major factor in the 2001 awards season, with Berry earning Best Actress prizes from a number of critical groups as well as the Screen Actors Guild. It all came to a head on March 24, 2002, when she became the first — and still only — Black actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. In her impassioned address, she stated, “This moment is so much bigger than me.” “It’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color who has a chance now that this door has been opened tonight.”

Berry didn’t mention Swordfish in her Oscar speech, which is understandable. In her popular Instagram page, where she often shares bikini photographs and other suggestive photographs, she has embraced Ginger’s “sexy girl” reputation. In 2019, she explained her approach to Instagram to Yahoo Entertainment, saying, “I look at it as storytelling in a little medium.” “[Instagram] used to be a platform for photographers and artists to share their work, but it’s now evolved into something entirely new. But I still like to look at it that way: it’s about storytelling, photography, and beauty.”

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Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott are ‘acting like a couple again’

Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott “aren’t shy about showing their love for another”. The 23-year-old make-up mogul and Travis, 29, are rumored to have recently rekindled their romance, and a source close to the situation has now revealed that while the celebrity duo are not living together, they are “romantic again and seem very happy with the direction they are headed”.

The insider explained: “Kylie and Travis are very happy and acting like a couple again.

“They hold hands and are affectionate. They aren’t shy about showing their love for another. They support each other and are a constant in each other’s lives.”

Another source revealed that Kylie and Travis – who have daughter Stormi, three, together – have “grown really close” over the last few months.

The insider told E! News: “They picked up right where they left off. Neither of them has been interested in anyone else over the last year and really love being a family unit together.”

Kylie and Travis initially dated between 2017 and 2019, and the rap star is said to be thrilled that they’re now giving their romance another chance.

The insider added: “Travis is enamoured by Kylie and would do anything for her and Stormi. He really wanted her back and has been trying for weeks now.

“Kylie loves seeing Travis as a dad and is grateful they can make it work for Stormi.”

Kylie and Travis have “always loved each other”, but previously thought they needed to spend some time apart for their own good.

The source said: “They have a great thing going right now and are really happy.

“They have truly always loved each other but needed a break during a busy time in their lives to figure it all out.”

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Kevin Hart speaks out on cancel culture: ‘When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect?’

According to Kevin Hart, he “personally [doesn’t] give a s***” about so-called cancel culture — but he certainly has a lot to say on the matter. The comedian and star of the upcoming Netflix film Fatherhood, who weathered his own backlash after old homophobic jokes resurfaced and resulted in him stepping down from his Oscars hosting gig in 2019, spoke out about internet outrage in a raw new interview with the Sunday Times.

“If somebody has done something truly damaging then, absolutely, a consequence should be attached,” Hart told the U.K. newspaper. “But when you just talk about… nonsense? When you’re talking, ‘Someone said! They need to be taken [down]!’ Shut the f*** up! What are you talking about?

“When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect?” the Get Hard star continued. “Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees. Because, last I checked, the only way you grow up is from fing up. I don’t know a kid who hasn’t fed up or done some dumb shit.”

The 41-year-old touched on his own controversies, saying he didn’t let the backlash affect him. He went on to argue that those who do make mistakes be given the opportunity to learn, grow and move on.

“I’ve been canceled, what, three or four times? Never bothered,” he said. “If you allow it to have an effect on you, it will. Personally? That’s not how I operate.

“I understand people are human,” he added. “Everyone can change. It’s like jail. People get locked up so they can be taught a lesson. When they get out, they are supposed to be better. But if they come out and people go, ‘I’m not giving you a job because you were in jail’ — then what the f*** did I go to jail for? That was my punishment — how do you not give those people a shot? They’re saying that all life should be over because of a mistake? Your life should end and there should be no opportunity to change? What are you talking about? And who are you to make that decision?”

According to Hart, comedians like himself are holding themselves back for fear of running afoul of a sensitive climate.

“You’re thinking that things you say will come back and bite you on the ass,” he said of censoring his material. “I can’t be the comic today that I was when I got into this.”

He later clarified that ruffling feathers with an off-color joke is “not necessarily about cancel culture, it’s backlash.

“It’s about the intent behind what you say — there’s an assumption it’s always bad and, somehow, we forgot comedians are going for the laugh. You’re not saying something to make people angry. That’s not why I’m on stage. I’m trying to make you laugh and if I did not make you laugh I failed. That’s my consequence.”

Ultimately, Hart feels that society should be able to have disagreement without division or backlash.

“If there’s a message to take from anything I’ve said, it’s that in this world of opinion, it’s OK to just disagree,” he told the paper. “It’s OK to not like what someone did and to say that person wasn’t for me. We are so caught up in everybody feeling like they have to be right and their way is the only way. Politics is f***ed up because, if you don’t choose our side, you’re dumb.

“It’s a divide. It’s fed up. But I’m not about to divide. I don’t support the divide! I put everybody in the fing building. We all come into this building Kevin Hart is in and we all laugh. I bring people together — like it or not.”

The father of four also addressed the controversy surrounding his Oscars announcement and his past jokes about the LGBTQ community.

“If people want to pull up stuff, go back to the same tweets of old, go ahead,” he said. “There is nothing I can do. You’re looking at a younger version of myself. A comedian trying to be funny and, at that attempt, failing. Apologies were made. I understand now how it comes off. I look back and cringe. So it’s growth. It’s about growth.”

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Kanye West and Irina Shayk fuel dating rumors while celebrating Kanye’s birthday in France.

Is there a new couple in town? Kanye West and Irina Shayk were pictured for the first time together amid relationship speculations.

West, who divorced Kim Kardashian earlier this year, and Shayk, 35, traveled to France to celebrate the rapper’s birthday. The two can be seen walking together in images obtained by The Daily Mail at a small hotel in Provence.

According to an eyewitness, “they were taking pictures of each other and the statues.” “They appeared to be really happy and calm. It was only them and a couple of their buddies.”

Last month, reports surfaced that the West was courting the Russian model. This would be Shayk’s first high-profile relationship since her one-child relationship with Bradley Cooper.

Kardashian, who is married to West and has four children, filed for divorce in February after nearly seven years of marriage. On last week’s heartbreaking episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the reality star admitted to feeling like a “failure” and a “loser” after her third divorce.

“Why am I still stuck in this, like, place? For many years. Every year, for example, he relocates to a different state. I need to be together so that I can raise the kids, you know? He’s a fantastic father. He’s done an outstanding job “Kardashian sobbed. “I think he deserves someone to go support his every move, to follow him around, and to go to Wyoming.”

West and Kardashian, on the other hand, are on good terms. On Tuesday, she publicly wished him a happy birthday, saying on social media, “Love U for Life!”

Shayk and Cooper have been blissfully co-parenting their 4-year-old daughter Lea. They ended their four-year relationship in 2019.

“I think in all good relationships you bring your best and your worst — it’s just the nature of a human being,” she told British Vogue last year. “Two great people don’t have to make a good couple.”

While she said “life without B is new ground,” she made it clear they were over romantically.

“I have a strong personality and I definitely know what I want, and I think some men are scared of that,” she added. “If somebody’s out of my life, they’re out of my life and I really cut all the ties, you know?”

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