Trainer Peter Lee Thomas breaks down how the Oscar winner prepared to portray a seasoned fighter in her new Netflix movie.

EW's 'Bold School' with 'Bruised' star Halle Berry

Halle Berry flexed filmmaking might when she went in for the kill as a first-time director on the upcoming Netflix drama Bruised (in theaters now, then streaming Nov. 24), but the Oscar-winning icon also went H.A.M. on her ace physique to step in front of the camera as a down-and-out MMA fighter for the movie. Here, the 55-year-old's longtime friend and trainer Peter Lee Thomas breaks down how he got Berry into fighting shape for the project.

Halle Berry flexes real muscle and directorial might in 'Bruised.'
| Credit: John Baer/NETFLIX

Rise and grind

Berry's day began with two-hour conditioning sessions at 7:45 a.m., followed by mobility training and combat prep. When he felt particularly mischievous, Thomas would "push the envelope until [Berry would] beg for mercy," via a Navy SEAL-inspired, 500-rep challenge with squats, pull-ups, and knee raises, bookended by a one-mile run. "I do it because I know when she's on set, toe-to-toe with a pro fighter, she has to go the distance."

Fuel for life

Berry already gravitated toward a fighter-friendly paleo diet, and Thomas had her study fighters like Cecilia Brækhus and Claressa Shields to connect with her character's grit. "There's sweat equity," he says. "You'll see how the physical and emotional intelligence intertwine."

Occupational hazards

Berry fought even after cracking two ribs during production, so Thomas modified routines to lessen stress on injured areas. But Berry wasn't the only one suffering for her art: "The title is Bruised," he says, "so [costar] Valentina [below] walked away with some bruises and scratches" as well.

A version of this story appears in EW's November issue, available to order here. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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