JOLIE, ANGELINA Ė TAKING LIVES
I LIE IN YOUR GRAVE Ė SO WHAT
In Taking Lives, Angelina Jolie has to lie in a grave Ė but it didnít freak her out at all; she has always been a friend to the darker things in life. But while sheís busy making movies, she is also busy working on a project to help Cambodia. Our Los Angeles correspondent, Jenny Cooney Carrillo reports.
Angelina Jolie used to be famous for her wild and crazy behaviour, swapping blood vials with husband Billy Bob Thornton, jumping into the Beverly Hilton swimming pool in her evening gown when she lost a bet at the Golden Globes (after winning her third straight award first for two TV movies and the last, followed up by an Oscar, for her supporting role in Girl, Interrupted). Now the 28-year-old star is considerably calmer, divorced from Billy Bob and a single parent to her adopted son Maddox, 3.†
Sheís also busier than ever with four films coming out this year. First up is the thriller Taking Lives, starring Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland and Olivier Martinez, in which Angelina plays a top FBI profiler whose unexpected romantic attraction complicates her instincts to catch a serial killer who is ďlife-jackingĒ Ė assuming the lives and identities of his victims. Sheís also the voice of a sexy shark in the upcoming animated film Shark Tale, the mother of Alexander the Great in the epic drama Alexander, co-starring with Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow in the futuristic digital drama Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and currently filming the dark comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with Brad Pitt.
Could you relate to the intensity in your own job with the character of Special Agent Illeana Scott, in Taking Lives?
Their field is much more intense because itís real and theyíre dealing with life and death but in any jobs where you move a lot and change locations and people around you constantly, there is a lot of intensity. You make friends or have feelings for somebody and you tend to say goodbye a lot, because you have to.
People are comparing your detective character to Clint Eastwood. What do you think of that comparison?
Iíve heard people saying that and I love Clint Eastwood but it was never a conscious decision. This woman handles things probably not unlike how I would handle a situation. Maybe in the back of my head, having observed different Clint Eastwood films over the years where you see a strong police detective come in and be clear and straightforward, maybe I was inspired by that, but it wasnít a conscious decision. My interpretation was she was just a clear, strong businesswoman.
Why were you attracted to Taking Lives?
I wasnít planning on doing this type of film or genre, but I read the script and was surprised by it because it was one of the smartest scripts Iíd read in a long time and was original and had great scenes. My character is a working woman and very strong but also very much a woman who has her vulnerabilities and flaws and things she needs to work through and sheís not socially as comfortable as she is when sheís at work. She was a very interesting character and I think people who do profiling for a living and dedicate their lives to that make a lot of sacrifices in their personal lives, because they are so haunted by the cases, so I thought that was interesting side of life to explore.
How did you feel about the scene in Taking Lives where you are lying in a grave?
If there was anybody it doesnít bother, itís me! I tend to have always been a friend to the darker things in life and I am not scared by things. I am not grossed out by things and I like them dark and bloody, so lying in the grave actually felt peaceful and quiet as I could smell the dirt and earth around me. Death or sickness just doesnít freak me out.
What about Alexander?
Iíve always wanted to work with Oliver Stone and at first the idea of playing Alexanderís mother seemed crazy but I really felt that she is a dark character and I understood her and could play her and somehow I was right to play her. Sheís a mother and I couldnít have played her before Maddox came into my life but I was exploring those emotions. You meet me when Alexander is six and then twelve and then nineteen and then when heís Colin Farrell, Iíve been aged to look fifty-two. If anybody says I donít look old enough they should see my mother, who is fifty-six and looks better than I look in this film!†
What about Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow?
I was excited to be part of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow because it is a great new way of film-making; just this whole new approach to films because of the blue screen and you have to see it to believe it, but it was truly unique. And Iíve also wanted to work with Jude Law for a long time so that was a big attraction.
You are obviously devoted to your son but you are busier than ever. How do you balance the two?
Iíve got a lot of new films coming out but some of them were short time commitments. I only worked on Alexander (starring Colin Farrell and directed by Oliver Stone) for a month. Shark Tale is something I only spent a few hours on here and there doing the voiceover. World of Tomorrow, I didnít work on very long, so Iím not starring in six-month movies. It sounds like theyíre taking up a lot more of my time but the movie Iím currently working on, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (with Brad Pitt) is taking me to Los Angeles which is near my mom and so sheís got her grandson for a few months and that was part of the plan. But when Mad starts school in September, I do plan to slow down and probably just take a huge break and be living in England, so Iím kind of getting all my work out of the way now!
Do you generally have a career plan?
No, I just want to do something I havenít done before. I always like to attempt to not repeat myself because I want to keep growing as a woman and as an artist and I always want to find something new where I can step away from it and feel that Iíve changed and grown. That is my only career plan.†
What has prompted some of these changes in your life?
I hope that Iím going to keep drastically changing my whole life because now Iím a mom, it has grounded me and made me understand love and life in a very different way and Iím open to the changes. Traveling the world has also changed me and given me a centre that I didnít have before and made me realize that I had so much inside me and didnít know where to put it before but now I know exactly where to put it, which makes me feel very stable in a way.
You work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. How important is that work?
It is everything to me and part of why Iíve changed so much. Iíve also set up the Maddox Jolie Project, which is helping out a big section of Cambodia and I want to make a documentary so that people understand more and then I can help push bills and get more politically active rather than just stay on the humanitarian side of things.
Will there be another Lara Croft?
I donít thinks so, because I was really quite happy with the last one and felt it turned out and that was what I wanted to do and so there is nothing about that story Iím excited about doing now. I think weíve done it all.
How is working with Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith?
Heís lovely and weíve become the greatest friends. Heís so funny to work with and weíve become like brother and sister. We play a married couple and itís a very dark comedy because our marriage is quite boring and bad and weíre in therapy but then we discover that weíre both hit men and the reason our marriage isnít working is because over six years weíve kept a lot of secrets from each other and then we realize that we have to kill each other! (laughs)
Do you have time for love in your life?
I donít have a boyfriend but Iíve had men in my life. Iím fulfilled as a woman but I am not bringing anybody home and I am not dating, so you figure out what Iím saying!
Published April 15, 2004
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Angelina Jolie - in TAKING LIVES