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Halle Berry determined not to phone in latest role

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By Madeleine Marr
Thursday, March 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
 

A 911 operator may be one of the most underappreciated jobs out there. But maybe not after “The Call” opens.

Halle Berry plays Jordan Turner, a veteran worker at the so-called Hive call center in Los Angeles, who has to keep an even keel trying to save an abducted teenager (Abigail Breslin) locked in a trunk with a cellphone.

The Oscar winner (“Monster's Ball”) spoke with us about the thriller.

Question: How did you think the movie came out?

Answer: Much of the filming I wasn't there for. I was in the call center most of the time, so I missed what they were doing. I could only imagine, but, wow, I was even scared. It turned out better than I thought. It was shot in just 20 days. It was shot as fast as it plays.

Q: How did you get involved with this project?

A: They came to me about two years before filming, but I wasn't able to do it because I had other obligations. I kept thinking they were going to go with someone else. I didn't want them to. Luckily for me, they waited. Then they said, ‘What do you think of Morris Chestnut as your love (interest?' I said, ‘Yes, please!'

Q: What kind of prep work did you have to do?

A: You get a different perspective by doing research. I think we both did. That's part of our job ... to find the truth in it. You can't know what it's like to be a cop even though you've seen it in the movies. But nobody ever saw a 911 center. I thought they lived in the ground somewhere. It was interesting to see who they were and how they deal and how stressful it can be. I was a wreck (watching them). They would just be as cool as can be doing their thing. I thought, ‘I could never do this job.'

Q: So, you have a new respect for the profession now, right?

A: Yes. They are who you call first. They are integral in the process. I take my hat off to them.

Madeleine Marr is a staff writer for The Miami Herald.

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