In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Valentina Shevchenko discussed not only her upcoming title defense against Joanne Calderwood in Australia June 6th, but also her upcoming feature film debut in Halle Berry’s Bruised. Berry not only stars in the film, but is also making her directorial debut with the project.
Shevchenko plays Berry’s opponent in front of the camera, and describes her role as, “the bad, bad guy.” However, behind the scenes the two women trained together extensively for their roles. “We trained four hours a day with Halle, training non-stop,” Shevchenko told Sports Illustrated.
As screenwriter Michelle Rosenfarb told Bloody Elbow, Berry was dedicated to getting the details of her character, washed up UFC fighter Jackie Justice, exactly right. In addition to the usual backstory creation for her character, Berry also needed to obtain the martial arts skills of her protagonist.
According to Shevchenko, Berry nailed it. “For this movie she started training MMA – Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu – she started everything, two or three years ago.” In fact, Berry performed at such a high level Shevchenko made a very bold declaration. “I can say she can be very competition for girls in UFC as well.”
When the interviewer pressed her on the assertion that Berry could go toe-to-toe with current UFC fighters, the flyweight champ smiled and said, “...she has the skills and level, and you will see it when the movie is released.”
The UFC's @BulletValentina says @halleberry has the skills to be an MMA fighter https://t.co/mGkVfGYskI pic.twitter.com/YRUFv2LuZD— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 10, 2020