Director and cast member Halle Berry attends a premiere screening for the film "Bruised". (Courtesy/ Reuters)

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry moved into the director's chair for the first time for new drama "Bruised," a film she also stars in as a washed-up mixed martial arts fighter who attempts to revive her career.

Berry said it took her years to get the movie to the screen, and she undertook intense physical training of up to five hours a day to prepare for fight scenes. The film is currently playing in a limited number of theaters and will be released on Netflix (NFLX.O) on Wednesday.

"I knew that I would spend more time, more energy, more hours working on something than I'd ever worked on in my entire career," she said in an interview with Reuters. "It proved to be true. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done."

British actress Sheila Atim, who co-stars as the trainer of Berry's character, said "Bruised" is about finding yourself.

"The characters in this story are just trying to find a way through the hand that they've been dealt," Atim said. "And some people navigate that better than others for different reasons."

After decades in the entertainment industry and winning an Oscar for 2001 film "Monster's Ball," Berry said people are often surprised that she still finds the entertainment industry tough to navigate.

"I get that most people would think that somehow it's easy for me," Berry said.

"As a black woman, the struggle is real," she added. “It’s still real. Nothing has ever been given to me in my entire career, and I still have to fight for things. And while sometimes I wish I didn't have to, I'm also grateful that I can."