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Halle Berry Had One Demand For Her Monster's Ball Sex Scene & It Meant More Nudity

Leticia Musgrove in "Monster's Ball" was the one role that changed Halle Berry's career forever. It led to her winning an Academy Award for best actress, becoming the first (and still only) Black woman to achieve such a feat in that category. It remains one of Berry's best film roles to date, even if people tend to focus more on the explicit sex scene between Leticia and Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton) than the rest of her harrowing performance. 

In a 2001 interview with The New York Times, Berry explained how viewers have her to thank for seeing even more skin in that scene. She mentioned the condition she had for doing the "Monster's Ball" sex scene: "I would only do it if Billy Bob agreed to be as naked as I was." As such, both performers get incredibly raw, and the scene became permanently etched into many people's minds. 

But before Berry got to the point of offering conditions, she fought an uphill battle to even get the part. Berry had become associated with more "glamorous" roles than the downtrodden Leticia in "Monster's Ball." She explained, "Fighting against my looks has become a large part of my career as an actress. I mean, everyone should have such problems, but producers never consider me for anything that isn't glamorous." And while director Marc Forster was concerned about Berry's ability to do such a graphic scene, she showed him and the whole world her versatility as an actor. 

The Monster's Ball sex scene came together thanks to Swordfish and Nicole Kidman

The sex scene in "Monster's Ball" is incredibly raw. These two characters have confided in each other about their various tragedies, and after some drinking, they succumb to their carnal desires. It's a heavy order for any actor, but Halle Berry was prepared for the moment thanks to her nude scene in "Swordfish." In that movie, she exposes her breasts, and she admitted in the New York Times article that the nudity in that film served no purpose. "It was totally gratuitous nudity, and I knew it," she stated. "But I probably wouldn't have been able to do the sex scene in 'Monster's Ball' if I hadn't shown my breasts in 'Swordfish.'"

However, there was another source of inspiration that helped guide Berry through the explicit "Monster's Ball" moments. When speaking with The Irish Examiner, she explained how Nicole Kidman in a stage production of "The Blue Room" factored into her decision to take the part. She told the outlet, "I remember when Nicole Kidman was naked on stage, and I thought, 'How could she?' Eventually, when the opportunity presented itself to me, I just bit the bullet and did it."

Nude and sex scenes are tall orders for any actor. They require the knowledge that millions of people could potentially see you bare all and being okay with those images and videos being around forever. However, they can also make for beautiful moments that show how messy yet glorious being human can be, and it's undoubtedly that quality that resonated with so many people for Berry's sex scene in "Monster's Ball," leading to her making Oscar history.