Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Angelina Jolie
Actor, director, producer

CATEGORY Power Squad

Just a year ago, things were looking pretty bleak for Jolie. She was breaking free of the second-most-scrutinized marriage in Hollywood history (Liz Taylor and Richard Burton's still ranks first) and recuperating from the critical and box-office disaster of her third directing endeavor, 2015's By the Sea, which made a humble $3.3 million worldwide. The only high-profile project she had in the works was a remake of Bride of Frankenstein, which was fast vanishing into Universal's Monsterverse swamp.

How quickly things change. With Netflix's First They Killed My Father, the actress turned filmmaker has again proved her directing chops, giving the lie to naysayers who groused that only clever editing by Universal saved her 2014 war drama Unbroken (it earned $163 million worldwide, along with three Oscar nominations). The story of a young girl growing up under the genocidal Khmer Rouge, First was shot for $22 million (a chunk of that from Jolie's pocket) and is Cambodia's entry for the best foreign-language picture Oscar. "Everybody came forward [to rally around] this idea," says Jolie, who also served as executive producer on animated feature contender The Breadwinner. With a sequel to her Disney blockbuster Maleficent in the works, she remains a quadruple threat as writer-director-producer-star while also serving as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, overseeing a staff of dozens in Cambodia to help land mine victims and others, and supporting numerous causes. Says Jolie, "I like the tough days."

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