Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Angelina Jolie

On getting behind the camera, telling the right story and wrestling with faith

When Angelina Jolie enters the room, you understand why she’s Angelina Jolie. She has a commanding presence—a way of speaking that snaps you to attention. Every word drops like she’s been thinking about it for hours, but she doesn’t sound rehearsed or like she’s speaking on autopilot. It’s just how Angelina Jolie is.
“I’m like everybody,” she says (and that’s something we’re just going to have to take her word on). “We wake up and we read the news. We see the events around the world. We live in our communities. We’re disheartened by so much, and we feel overwhelmed.”
She’s talking about why she chooses the films she does. She made her name as an actor and philanthropist, but she has turned her attention to directing lately. She helmed 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey and 2014’s Unbroken.
This year, she’s directing By the Sea, in which she and her husband (Brad Pitt, as you know) co-star as a couple looking to recapture their former flame. Jolie is clearly looking toward movies to inspire people to seek something greater than themselves, but she’s not necessarily sure about what the “greater” something is.
“We don’t know what’s possible,” she says. “We want something to hold onto, to believe in—something to give us strength.”

Carried Away

Jolie’s most ambitious project to date is undoubtedly Unbroken, the true story of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic athlete turned World War II pilot turned prisoner in a Japanese internment camp turned inspirational speaker.
Jolie happened upon his story the way most people did—his 2010 biography written by Laura Hillenbrand.
“I was halfway through his book and I found myself inspired, on fire, feeling better and being reminded of the strength of the human spirit,” Jolie says.
“I realized if this was having this effect on me—and I knew it had the effect on so many other people—isn’t this what we needed to put forward into the world at this time?”

This article is from Issue 74: March/April 2015

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