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Casting isn’t official, but Halle Berry acting like she’s in MLK play

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Casting hasn’t been officially announced for Atlanta director Kenny Leon’s Broadway staging of the London hit “The Mountaintop.” But one of the rumored stars, Halle Berry, sure sounds like she expects to be in the drama, which imagines the last night of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.

In the cover story of September’s Vogue magazine, Berry, who hasn’t been onstage in more than 20 years, talks briefly about appearing in “Mountaintop.”

She allows that she’s nervous at the prospect of acting on the Great White Way.

“Terrified is putting it lightly,” she is quoted as saying.

Leon has committed to directing Katori Hall’s drama, and Samuel L. Jackson has read for the role of King, but nothing has been announced yet in terms of casting, run dates or even a venue.

Reached by e-mail by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Leon texted on Friday: “It’s pretty much confirmed that I will be directing Samuel L. Jackson and Halle Berry … on Broadway opening in April.”

Berry would play a hotel maid/angel whom King encounters at the Lorraine Motel.

Leon’s staging of August Wilson’s “Fences” recently won a Tony Award for best revival. His stars, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, scored lead acting Tonys, too — as did Phylicia Rashad, in 2004, for the Leon-directed revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.”

It’s safe to say that Berry, who won an Oscar for “Monster’s Ball,” would be happy to have the Atlantan direct her to a Broadway trophy as well.

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