Halle Berry Takes Horror Cues From Dear Old Mom In 'Gothika'

Supernatural film, in which she plays a criminal psychologist, set for release in October.

SAN DIEGO — Everything she needed to know about playing Storm was in the "X-Men" comic series. There was a long line of Bond gals to look toward for "Die Another Day." And when it came time to prepare for the supernatural horror flick "Gothika," Halle Berry didn't need to look any further than her own family.

Set for release in October, the forthcoming thriller stars the Oscar-winning actress as a criminal psychologist who wakes up a patient in the same mental institution where she's employed.

"My mother was a psych nurse for 35 years, so the world of psychology is one that I know pretty well," Berry explained, standing backstage at San Diego's International Comic Convention, or "Comic-Con," over the weekend. "I've been around it my whole life. And so I felt particularly comfortable with this genre and this script."

In "Gothika," Berry's Dr. Miranda Grey is accused of murdering her husband although she has no memory of committing the crime. And as she fights to prove her innocence, she begins to find herself being manipulated by an angry spirit.

"This is a great character like I've never, ever played before," proclaimed Berry, still sporting a brace from when she broke a bone between her wrist and elbow while working on the film. "It's a strong character. It's a woman in jeopardy, a woman on the brink. And I love to play those characters."

"Gothika" also stars Penélope Cruz ("Vanilla Sky") as mental patient Chloe, Robert Downey Jr. ("Chaplin") as Berry's colleague, Dr. Pete Graham, and Charles S. Dutton (TV's "The Corner") as her doomed husband and chief administrator of the prison psychiatric ward, Dr. Doug Grey.

The film is the English-language debut of French director Mathieu Kassovitz and was produced by Dark Castle Entertainment, the same production company behind "13 Ghosts," "Ghost Ship" and "House on Haunted Hill."

Berry said she finished working on "Gothika" last week, just in time to start thinking about her upcoming role as Catwoman in the in-development flick of the same name. Berry is also attached to a movie based on her Jinx character from the James Bond flick "Die Another Day."