Angela Bassett turned down a lead role in the movie Monster's Ball because she believed an affair the character had was demeaning and stereotypical, the actress said.

"It's about character, darling," she told Newsweek for the July 1 issue, which goes on newsstands Monday. "I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film. I couldn't do that because it's such a stereotype about black women and sexuality."

The actress made it clear that she didn't mean to criticize Halle Berry, who starred in the movie as a troubled waitress who had an affair with her husband's executioner. Berry won an Oscar for the role.

Bassett was one of several actresses who passed on the role in Monster's Ball.

"It's about putting something out there you can be proud of 10 years later," she said. "I mean, Meryl Streep won Oscars without all that."