In preparation for her leading role as a 9-1-1 operator in the upcoming thriller The Call, Halle Berry shadowed real emergency-line operators and spent copious hours listening to taped calls. Sitting down with ET to talk about the film, Berry revealed a call that she claims she'll never forget.
"There was one that really stayed with me," she revealed. "I listened to an operator listen to a woman be raped. She could not hang up because the police hadn't gotten there yet and she had to listen to that happening. That is something that I think will never leave me: Listening to a woman be raped."
Shocked and somewhat terrified to have heard a woman being assaulted in the recording, Berry said she imagined what it would be like to have been in the situation.
"Just horror," she said of her reaction to hearing the call. "[I] couldn't help but put myself in that situation and think, 'What if that were happening to me.'"
The titular call that the film focuses on is between Berry's character and an abducted teenage girl, played by Abigail Breslin, who is locked in the trunk of her abductor. She too was shaken by the calls she listened to as research for the film.
"I listened to a lot of 9-1-1 calls to get a feel for how the panic was. Just thinking about calling your mom and trying to leave messages for your family and everything, that's something that I would be so upset doing," the 16-year-old actress said
Although she was merely fictionally abducted, Breslin was still subjected to being trapped in the trunk of a car for extended periods while it was on the road. As one might imagine, the experience may have added to the richness of the film but it wasn't the least bit pleasant.
"[It was] terrifying. Pretty scary," Breslin said of riding in the trunk of a sedan. "It's obviously something that's petrifying. Nobody should ever be in a trunk; they're not made for humans to be in. They're uncomfortable. It was pretty hard."
While she was faced with some abnormal acting situations, Breslin was generously complimented by her co-star for her poise on the set.
"She is a consummate professional and sometimes young actresses aren't always that way. We know the ones that are kind of living on another planet. She's very grounded and very centered, and she was raised well. She's about the work and I really admire her and respect her for that."
The Call is in theaters March 15.