In an interview with WSJ for By the Sea, Angelina said:
"“So many times, people divorce very quickly. To me, if this film has a message, it’s that you have to try to weather the storm together no matter what. And that’s a beautiful thing.” "
We will know in the coming weeks if and how she is putting this into practice.
A reader (Agility) asked if Brad's lack of a response to her petition could be read as a good sign.
From the start he made it clear he didn't want her to file, and his reluctance to file a response is consistent with that.
And let's not forget she was reluctant to file too. She felt her hand was forced and she filed with a heavy heart.
What happens with the petition is in her hands. She could seek a default judgement in the absence of a response if she wished. On the other hand, if she decides even late in the process that she wants to withdraw her petition, Brad will be only too happy to go along.
How this ultimately ends is in Brad's hands. It hinges on his successfully dealing with his problems and making up with his son.
I am again reprinting below, relevant portions of select interviews they gave for By the Sea (and one for Unbroken). I've provided the links in case anyone wishes to read the full interviews.
It's clear from the interviews that they both greatly value what they have as a family. I don't think he'll allow himself to come close to messing up again and risk losing it.
Angelina Jolie Pitt on Filming Fight Scenes with Brad Pitt in By the Sea: 'I Better Understand His Frustrations'
12/04/2015 AT 11:45 AM EST
When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt began filming By the Sea, they knew they were going to discover new things about their relationship.
One big surprise? Jolie Pitt, who directed the film, admits it was especially eye-opening to see how they both react in the aftermath of a blowout.
"Brad has never seen what I'm like when he's left me after one of our fights," she told French Elle for its December issue. "Sometimes I'm strong. But as soon as he leaves the room, I melt into tears."
"With this film, he sees it," she added. "And I see into his private moments."
Jolie Pitt, 40, said that seeing how the other copes after a fight helped them understand one another better in their real-life relationship.
"I filmed it and I discovered his expressions," she explained. "So I better understand his frustrations over certain aspects in me."
Set in 1970s France, By the Sea tells the story of a struggling marriage between Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), a former dancer, and her writer husband, Roland (Pitt).
While the couple in the film is not based on their real relationship, Jolie Pitt said it was still hard to separate their real feelings from the ones they were supposed to portray on screen.
"The most difficult scenes were the most drawn-out fights: normally if Brad sees me cry, it ends by his taking care of me. But here, in the the film he had to stay angry, and I couldn't take it personally," she said. "It was so strange and interesting."
Says Pitt, “When Angie has a day off, the first thing she does is get up and take the kids out. This is the most important ‘to do’ of the day. No matter how tired she might be, she plans outings for each and all. She has an incredible knack for inventing crazy experiences for them, something new, something fresh. I may be the bigger goof of the pair, but she invents the stage.”
More than anything, Jolie Pitt says, touching on her experience with her own mother, “I want to make sure my kids are never worried about me. Even if I’m going through something, I make sure they are very aware that I’m totally fine. I’ll stop and make a joke, I talk to them. I never, ever want them to have that secret worry and feel that they have to take care of me.”
It also doesn’t sound as though they have to worry much about Mom and Dad as a unit either. “When something happens in your life that’s a dramatic thing, you either pull together or you go into your own,” Jolie Pitt says, referring to By the Sea and the trauma that drives a wedge between Roland and Vanessa. “So many times, people divorce very quickly. To me, if this film has a message, it’s that you have to try to weather the storm together no matter what. And that’s a beautiful thing.”
A middle-aged husband and wife, playing a middle-aged husband and wife at a critical moment in their marriage – it does not take long for Pitt to make the leap, as if he has not only been anticipating the discussion but can’t wait for it.
'Certainly the attrition rate of Hollywood couples looms large.’ He swigs from his bottle of water. 'And I’m surprised how much our history – Angie’s and mine – means to me. That we have this story together. That we know each other. That we watch each other getting older, through amazing moments, joys, pains.’
He repeats the phrase with a sense almost of wonderment in his voice. 'That we know each other. It means so much to me. 'I don’t know. I’m just surprised, because you hear people talking about the old ball and chain, and people trying to recapture youth, as if that’s the impulse – but it’s not the impulse, it’s not the impulse at all.’
But isn’t that what you enter into a relationship expecting – or at the very least hoping for? 'It is. But again, there are no books to tell you what year 12 is supposed to be like, and year 14 and year 23 – no guidebooks. What I’m saying is, I’m surprised how much it means to me, how much value I place in it. I’d equate it to having kids.
Everyone talks about the joy of having kids – blah, blah, blah. But I never knew how much I could love something until I looked in the faces of my children.’ Pitt, 51, and Jolie, 40, are parents to six children, three biological – Shiloh, nine, and seven-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne – and three who are adopted: Maddox, 14, Pax, 11, and Zahara, 10.
It is a family unit that he describes as 'a lot of love, a lot of fighting, a lot of refereeing; a lot of teeth-brushing and spilling… Chaos, total chaos. But so much fun.’
It was always his dream to have a big family, he says. At college he had a friend with whom he would sometimes stay who had five brothers and two sisters. 'It was absolute mayhem on the weekends, and so much fun. His mom would be making breakfast for everyone, throwing eggs and pancakes around, and I thought, that’s the way I want to do it.’
He laughs. 'Listen, Angie and I were aiming for a dozen, but we crapped out after six.’ His own upbringing, he says, was 'never that raucous’. Pitt has a younger brother and sister. He grew up in Springfield, Missouri, where his father ran a trucking company – a Baptist upbringing, 'with all the Christian guilt about what you can and cannot, should and shouldn’t do’. (He now describes himself as an atheist.)
His father was 'very, very tough’, but not, he says, in the 'father knows best’ way. 'He could be a softie. But one thing my folks always stressed was being capable, doing things for yourself. He was really big on integrity – and that informed a lot of what [we] try to do now.’
Is Pitt the disciplinarian in the family? 'I am with the boys.’ He smiles. 'Girls do no wrong so I don’t have to be. I feel like my job is to show ’em around, help them find what they want to do with their life, put as many things in front of them, and pull them back when they get out of line, so they know who they are.’
The peripatetic nature of Pitt and Jolie’s lives – working on location (he as an actor; she as a director, having cut back on acting), her travels on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and her own Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative – means the family is frequently on the move; the children are homeschooled.
It must be hard, I suggest, to impress on them what constitutes a normal life. 'Well, our life is their normal. Because we’re migratory workers in a sense, they have this wonderful thing where they get to be students of the world. They have memories of being in Vietnam, or that time in Paris, or over in Calgary. The downside is friends, sleepovers, team sports – these have been the challenges that we’ve had to work out.
'We do those things, but we really have to go out of our way. And Mom is a matador about it all – she’s fantastic. We get their friends to us a lot. And then when we set up in one place for any length of time I get on the team sports, because I really want them to have that understanding of being on the team.’
He and Jolie do their best to 'hopscotch’ projects, as he puts it, so that only one of them is away at any given time, while the other looks after the children.
For years, he says, they had talked about working together – 'but we weren’t going to do a Mr & Mrs Smith Two [a follow-up to the film on which they first met, in 2004, when Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston]. Done that – although there were some funny ideas for a sequel.’
What they wanted, he says, was a 'Cassavetes, John and Gen experience’ – a reference to the actor and director John Cassavetes, who, with his actress wife Gena Rowlands, made a series of intense chamber pieces in the 1970s including A Woman Under the Influence and Opening Night.'We wanted to have that kind of autonomy, of making something together that was small and intimate, and at the same time make it a family affair where our kids could be running around on set.’
Ostensibly set in France, By the Sea was filmed on the island of Gozo, off Malta, where the production took over a secluded cove, renting houses on the hill above to accommodate Pitt, Jolie and the family. Their eldest son, Maddox, worked as a produc-tion assistant. 'It was just that experience we were looking for.’
The 'John and Gen experience’ worked in reverse, with Jolie directing her husband for the first time – a process that Jolie has described as 'challenging’, but that elicits a paean of praise from Pitt. 'I’ve worked with some really great directors, and I’m really choosy about them, because they’re telling the story at the end of the day. I need to know I’m in good hands, and I trust Angie with my life. I love her instincts. She’s ferocious with a story and she’s really decisive at her post – in command.
'And the second thing would be, she’s my wife. There’s no dividing line when the camera’s rolling or when it’s not. We’re having the same conversation when we’re making breakfast, when we’re setting the shot, when we’re in the scene or out of the scene. Of course we have our own shorthand: I know immediately if she thought a take smelled. But it’s the same as any good director I’ve worked with in that it’s a matter of trust. I know I’m in good hands. Just don’t be late.’ He laughs. 'She hates it when you’re late.’
By: Ruben V. Nepales
So can you talk about that—you just had your wedding and you had to direct Brad.
We thought, this is the best honeymoon because we felt, as the film says in the end—whatever you go through, weather the storm and stay together. It was a message to each other of we are going to weather whatever comes and we are going to stick together so that was nice.
You said that the film might have been harder to make if you didn’t know each other well. But there must be little things that bug you.
Oh, to be clear, we have fights and problems like any other couple. That was just to say that these aren’t our specific problems. If they were our specific problems, we couldn’t do this movie because it would be too close.
Our problems are different but we certainly have them all, the same as everybody. We certainly have days when we just drive each other absolutely mad and we want space. The sunglasses is a real thing and it drives him nuts. I am the kind of person who just throws my glasses around and don’t take care of my things. Brad finds that irritating.
And what do you find irritating?
All the things, big and little. There are lots of things. It’s a hard thing. Anybody who is married knows that you try your best not to focus on them because you are going to live with them for the rest of your life.
What have you learned over the years about relationships? What do you tell your children about relationships?
Those are heavy questions like I am in a therapy session. But you are right, it’s good and I should be asking myself this. I think I have learned a lot. There is a discussion on compromise. I feel the opposite. I feel like you have to really maintain yourself and you have to help the person you are with to be the best version of himself. You need to really stay… [the way] you are and make sure that you are not asking him to bend in a way that is not natural to him.
That is what I learned. It’s also very important to have a common goal. That’s what keeps people together—your moral fiber is the same and you have something that you are doing together that matters. You have purpose and certainly children are the easiest way to have the sense of purpose together because no matter what, they are first.
I try to talk to my children a lot about anything. If they ever hear their mommy and daddy argue, we try to explain to them what we were talking about and why and most of all, you want your children to be able to ask you questions. Like we say to them, did you have fears and are you worried? If their friends’ parents are divorced, they want to sit down and ask us questions and want to know.
It has been 10 years since you and Brad worked together on a film. Can you talk about the difference with working with him now? You were also the boss since you directed him as well. How well did he take direction?
Of course, it was very different when we first worked together. We didn’t really know each other. We were young and it (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) was a really fun film. Maybe we thought this film was going to be that kind of fun. We realized very quickly that it wasn’t that kind of fun.
But in the end, I enjoyed the process. Of course, these are very sensitive themes… But I know what he could be and what he is thinking about. So if anything, I had to step away and be very careful in how he was directed.
The strangest is when we were both fighting in the scenes. It’s the weirdest thing. It’s so hard to explain. It was so weird to be in a fight trying to tell him how better to fight with me. And then I am crazy Vanessa who is so broken and weird. Then when you [say,] “Cut!,” I am not Vanessa. I am this other person who is a director and has all these very strong opinions and is nothing like her (Vanessa).
I have to go over to Brad’s side of the room and go talk to him. Then I have to meet him in five minutes on screen where I am now Vanessa. It was schizophrenic for all of us. And then we had these iPads… and it was a really helpful way to direct because I couldn’t go back and forth to the monitor.
So they would have to give the iPad to me and I would hold it (demonstrates holding the iPad while being in the bathtub and showing the shot she wanted). But like in the bathtub scene, being naked in a bathtub and trying to direct the camera crew with your husband outside the room through a microphone and an iPad, it was just weird.
The husband and wife in the film deal differently with their problems. Your character turns inward while Brad’s Roland wants to talk about it. What are you like when you are mad?
When I am really mad, I get quiet. I get self-contained. It’s almost when I stop talking that I get dangerously angry. If there is still something to debate [about], then there is hope. But once you are sure that there has been something that is wrong or you are very angry or against something, then there is very little to discuss.
But I do like to solve things quickly. I don’t sit on anything which probably drives Brad a little mad because I do need to discuss it right now. But being artists, we both do talk a lot which is very helpful in a relationship because he is an actor who studies behavior as part of his life.
Do you think what happens in the film happens to many couples?
I do. But they (Roland and Vanessa) may seem an extreme and unusual couple. But in fact, they are not that unusual. It just comes out in different ways. But sometimes she wants it to go bad. She wants to face it. She wants it to blow up and tear it apart. She wants to take her pain, paint the world with it and destroy because she feels it’s destroyed.
So somehow her response is to test and push and see if she can push her husband away, if she can push him into a fight… It is something we do quite often without knowing it—that we are almost self-sabotaging a situation.
You’ve gone through serious health issues. Do you sometimes ask yourself if you want to go on being busy? And do you have moments when you feel very fragile?
I am doing less. I don’t think of my next year as this movie or that movie. I am now doing films that really matter to me or something I can really enjoy with my children. And if something inconveniences my children too much or takes me away from them in a bad way, I won’t do it.
When I was younger, I was choosing… to just test myself.
These are the years of my life with my family. For example, Maddox is now working with me in production. So when I have my production meetings, he is sitting right next to me. We go through our notes. Pax is going through the photography. Shiloh is sketching the sets. It has to be with family and they have to be a part of it now.
The film (“First They Killed”) I am doing now, it’s getting us all to talk about the history of one of our family’s countries (Cambodia). So it’s very fulfilling. I will try to always, in some way, do it that way now.
I have many moments of fragility. It’s a strange thing. I wrote this film and I don’t really allow myself to sit on a bed and cry (as Vanessa does). But I have to understand why. Sometimes as a writer, you don’t even understand what you have written and you don’t know why you wrote it.
I have watched the film myself and think, I have had friends say to me after they have seen it, “Are you okay? Do we not know?” I guess there is something I do need to come to terms with, where I cry very easily when I need to in film. When things are slow and subtle, I do carry a lot of pain.
Somebody mentioned to me, “This is the second film you have written and it’s the second time a woman is trapped in a room.” And the other films—they are at prison camps. That didn’t even dawn on me. I will get to a therapist at some point (laughs). Or you will have to suffer through the film with me.
As Angelina Jolie awaits the release of 'Unbroken,' she says directing husband Brad Pitt brought them 'closer'
Her WWII survival drama, about Louis Zamperini, is set for Christmas Day; she teams up with Pitt in 'By the Sea'
Jolie tells the Daily News that directing Pitt while the two made her marital crisis drama, “By the Sea" — opening next year — made her fall in love with him more.
“It brought us closer,” she says.
“The scenes on ‘By the Sea’ were so tense that we let out (any stress) on camera. There’s really heavy fighting in it, so I think sometimes the crew felt like, ‘Mom and Dad are having a fight!’ — because Brad and I are the producers too,” she said. “Success or failure, it’s all on us.
“But it was all oddly freeing. We both wanted to do something as artists ... and push each other. So we got this opportunity to go out there and play.
“I had missed being that free as an actor, and to do that depth of work, and what a pleasure it was to do it with Brad, because I really saw him as an actor, not just the man I loved,” she says. “In the end, it was an amazing thing, because there’s no actor who wants to help me more, or push me more as an actress, or give me more as a director or writer than my husband, and there’s no man I want to see succeed more than him. We were so there for each other.”
Though married only since August — and globe-trotting from sets around the world to homes in Los Angeles, New Orleans or France — Pitt and Jolie are dedicated to setting aside Christmas as family time, she says.
“Our tradition is, well, being somewhat traditional,” Jolie reveals, even cozily referring to herself and Pitt as “Mom and Dad” when detailing their household holiday.
“Dad is the main one to deal with the tree, Mom and the kids help decorate, and then we put all the kids to bed. And, as anybody who has a big family knows, [the gifts] take a really long time! You have to be very organized when you’re wrapping them and putting presents around the tree. And you have to make sure no one gets up and leaves before everyone else is done.
“It’s all a bit military! We’re constantly cleaning up the wrapping paper and getting coffee, like any other parent,” she says.
And like other parents, Pitt and Jolie must deal with the inevitable problem of limiting the expectations of kids who have spent all year staying nice rather than naughty.
“We make a point not to spoil them, but there’s usually that one item they've been wanting for a long time that we’ve held back until Christmas,” she says. “They’ve each got that big thing.”
“Had someone said, ‘What kind of film are you looking to make?,’ I would never have said one with plane crashes and sharks,” says Jolie, who nevertheless crafted a movie that feels very much like a classic Hollywood epic of survival.
“I would never have attempted it. But it came with the territory.”
That territory also forced Jolie, whose role as a Special Envoy for the U.N. has brought her to numerous war-torn countries in the last dozen years, to think more broadly about war.
“Any time a soldier goes to war it should be supported, and they should be able to feel good about their service to their country, regardless of what the government’s choices are,” Jolie says. “But there are certain wars that I would be very hesitant about, wars that aren’t clear on the need for the soldiers on the ground and the tactics being used.
“It’s very difficult for soldiers today, because they’re not seeing the outcomes promised,” says Jolie, who also co-chairs the Clinton Global Initiative’s Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was appointed an Honorary Dame by Queen Elizabeth II this fall.
“We haven’t been able to focus on prevention of conflict, on political solutions. We owe them that, so we’re not putting them in harm’s way to solve problems that we are not solving politically.”
So in other words, if Hillary Clinton becomes President, will Jolie serve as Secretary of State?
“Who could say anything but ‘Yes’?” she replies with a grin.