Friday, December 8, 2017

Random Fuzzy

Notable in the Awards Chatter podcast:

-The big, oft-misquoted and misrepresented part is of course when she was asked about By The Sea:

Feinberg:  You laughed that it was pretty much right on the heels of your wedding in 2014.  It's not the way everybody chooses to have a honeymoon.
Yeah, it may not have been a good idea.

You and Brad play a couple going through a horrible time after the wife has 2 miscarriages. Was it a healthy thing to put yourself through at that point?
“It should have been good for us.  To be honest I wanted to work with him because we worked, we had met working together and we work together well.  And even though it was a challenging role, we'd matured.  And I wanted us to do some serious work together and I wanted to see him do that kind of work.  So I thought that it could be a good way for us to communicate.  And I think in some ways  it was, and in some ways we learned some things. But there was a heaviness probably during that situation that carried on and it wasn’t because of the film. (giggles) It was something that we were dealing, that you know.  Things happen for different reasons, and things, you know -- 'Why did I write that exact piece? Why did we feel the way about it we did when we made it?' I’m not sure.”

Obviously it's about grief but it's also connected in other ways.. I read you wrote it shortly after the death of your mother ... and then when you were finishing it was when, you were in the editing room and you had another health scare.  So it seems every step of the way there was something.
I don't know.  I mean my life has been, I've had many, many extraordinary, very fortunate things happen, and it's also been many different things over the years, that have been challenging.  So that wasn't a particular time just when I wrote it.  I mean, if we look at it, I had my mastectomy right before I shot Unbroken.  Over the span of that decade, I did lose my mother,  I did have my mastectomy, and I did then have an ovarian cancer scare and have that surgery as well. And other things, of course, that happen in life that you go through.
It really depends, a piece of art can be something that can be healing or it can just be difficult.  I still don’t know.  I’m happy we did that film because we did explore something together, and whatever it was, maybe it didn’t solve certain things, but it did, we did communicate something that maybe needed to be communicated to each other.


Ruben Nepales, November 06, 2015

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."

WSJ 2015
Julia Reed

"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.”

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' 

Sunday, December 21, 2014, 2:00 AM

 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.”


Also interesting in the Awards Chatter podcast:

- "I had this feeling that I couldn't face a first Christmas without my mother so I really wanted to be pregnant.  So during Changeling, I got pregnant with the twins."
Recall what she said about Loung in VF :  "She’s that girlfriend who rolled up her sleeves, got on a plane, and helped me on Christmas morning,”

Waking up on Christmas Day without Brad was hard for her.  Before the family left for Crested Butte, she arranged for one of the therapists to join them for a Christmas celebration so that Brad could celebrate Christmas with them, but she couldn't ask the therapist to leave her own family celebration on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  Recall: "A source tells Us that Jolie organized the holiday get-together and that the kids' therapist — who supervises their visits with the Allied actor — was also there. "[Brad] gave them presents."  Earlier, a rep said, "Angie is not big on Christmas.  The kids have gifts, but she's teaching them not to be materialistic."  She let Brad be the one to hand the kids the "big thing" they each had been hoping to get for Christmas.  Angelina had brought the family forward to this point by helping Brad through "family therapy sessions" after he struggled for weeks to reconnect with the younger kids, while the older boys refused to see him again after walking out of one brief visit.

- "And I even went home and said to Brad, 'There's this one.'  And he said, 'Oh honey, that one's been around forever.'
I recall that this was, almost word for word, how she recounted it before, but it's revealing that she repeated even the "Oh honey" part.  She had been more circumspect earlier in the conversation when she avoided identifying him by name --  "And then, somebody saw it and said, they thought it wasn't so bad."  The "Oh honey" anecdote was less important to the story she was telling than how he encouraged her to move forward with  her script, but by then she had lowered her guard after chatting for an hour about her entire life.

- "Publicist, I never really got along with.  Had to have them for emergencies and it's never worked out."
Her reference to publicists (them - plural) seems to indicate she is referring to both hers and Brad's -- and she strongly disliked what they, as a team, did.  She was likely deeply unhappy with the way they ended up projecting an image of an ugly, acrimonious split.  It was an image Brad made repeated efforts to reject in GQStyle and noted "my partner in this agrees."  I thought the rep who was speaking for her was calmer and more truthful than the one who spoke for Brad, but both enjoyed talking too much and their public sparring fed fuel to the fire.  Their services were likely terminated not long after the family returned from Crested Butte, leaving the tabloids without the sources they had relied on for stories and quotes.  Now that the family is no longer in an "emergency" situation, the people still active on their team are largely their long-time reps led by his manager and her lawyer -- who are experienced in the game and tight-lipped.

She basically also confirmed that she does not have a manager.  That the one statement released by Geyer Kosinski after she filed didn't mean that he had been rehired.

(On having a kneeling/standing scene in all her 4 films)
 - "But I wonder if there's something to that.  That idea of something I've been always trying to find in life.   Like when you're up against something and you have to find what you stand for, and you have to fight for it.  And you have to, your will and your drive, and will you stay standing or will you fall.  Or will you accept that you're responsible and then will somebody step forward."

(liking imperfect heroes)
-  "I loved the idea of this story of somebody who is not perfect, and actually not special in any way other than his will and his spirit are strong.  And I think we need more of those."

(emerging stronger from dark times)
- "Me personally I believe things evolve....We've hit very, very dark times and we've come out stronger. And sometimes things can crystallize something and then you understand even clearer what you need to fight for and why, and what you need to hold on to and why.  And so I think that can be, and maybe must be, the way people have to look at dark times."

Even though she is not directly referencing Brad and the family above, given how her life over the past year and a half has been totally consumed by the family situation, they inevitably intruded into her thoughts.

One of the thoughts that threads prominently throughout is her will and desire to fight for what is important to her and what she holds dear.  Recall a few days after she filed: "A family member exclusively tells PEOPLE "Her family is broken and she is in agony. Her children are recovering from the events that brought about the filing of the divorce"  She had to care for both sides separately even as she had to fight and work hard to bring them back together, to heal her broken family.

The children -- innocent, impressionable and vulnerable -- were the ones she had to attend to first.  She was with them constantly, talking to and reassuring them, and sat with them in their sessions with the therapists who helped guide them in overcoming the trauma and helped explain how their father ended up behaving the way he did.

Looking after Brad was much, much more complicated.  She couldn't be physically with him, at least not openly, especially in the beginning when they were prohibited from any direct contact by the DCFS' child protection plan.  Brad was forced to live alone while he grappled with myriad debilitating emotions, had to deal with substance withdrawal, and face simultaneous DCFS and FBI investigations.  She knew he was in a fragile state, devastated by the filing, despondent at not being able to join her and the children, and alarmingly entertaining suicidal thoughts.  She was desperate to help him but could only do so stealthily, hiding from both the public and the DCFS, who had compelled her to file to safeguard the children's healing.

One of the ways she protected him was by shielding from the public the details of what truly transpired: why all the children ended up with severe trauma, and what led Maddox and Pax to spurn him and resist his efforts at reconciliation.  What we do know is that it was serious enough for the DCFS to place a protective order against him and restrict him to limited, monitored contact with the children. 

She is "quite an emotional person, very empathetic" even with total strangers, and so much more so with Brad, who sources close to her kept repeating was still the "love of her life" in the wake of her filing.  She quickly moved past being upset with him to empathizing with his problems.  She understood his difficulty in facing his substance addiction, and why he had trouble grasping the seriousness of the children's condition and comprehending the therapists' decisions.  She understood how his frustration with his slow progress reconnecting with the children led him to flail about seeking a quick solution against the Custody Stipulation.  She knew it was his desire to do what was right and what was needed by the family, but that he sometimes lacked self-discipline, clear thinking, and will-power.

She had to fight to be strong for the whole family because they were all dependent on her to carry them through.

While Brad had confessed that the "weird" journey was "self-inflicted" due to "things I wasn't dealing with, I was boozing too much," and enumerated other shortcomings, she never pinned any blame on him.  She never alluded to any of the problems he already admitted to having.  She never spoke of the incident on the plane, the DCFS, or the children's trauma and recovery.  She always referred to their situation in nebulous terms: "the events that led to the filing", "things got difficult", "there was a heaviness" because of "something" that they were dealing with.  Although he owned up to being at fault, she didn't want him to carry the burden of responsibility for the entire situation on his own and so she is effectively sharing it with him.

She nursed and guided him back to a healthier mindset, and gently encouraged him to follow and benefit from the therapeutic process.  She reassured him of her enduring love, that they would "weather the storm together no matter what" and turn it to the family's benefit by emerging "stronger and closer."  He acknowledged all that she did and showered her in turn with "a lot of" love and gratitude: "There’s still much beauty in the world and a lot of love. And a lot of love to be given."  And it shows.

"We are and forever will be a family. I am coping with finding a way through to make sure that this somehow makes us stronger and closer."...  " We will be stronger when we come out of this because that's what we're determined to do as a family."..."We care for each other and care about our family, and we are both working towards the same goal."

-  She spent over a year "being a Mom", "just to be with my kids,” because they "needed me home." She "couldn’t be at the final post (production for FTKMF). because of family issues. "

There is obviously no longer any need for her to be constantly at home wit the children.   She has been busy promoting FTKMF virtually nonstop since it debuted in Telluride in early September.  She went alone to Vancouver in mid-November while the kids presumably stayed behind in L.A.  Brad has been free since early November when Ad Astra wrapped.  She said she expects to start Maleficent 2 in January and it appears to be gearing up.*  As before, when she is working all day on a film, it will be Brad's turn to look after the kids. The family appears to have already achieved it's goal of reunification.  They even flew back together from Nice on a private plane in late June, retracing their steps from that fateful September 14, 2016 flight.  Recall she said that the DeMille was a big jump forward for them when they moved there in mid-June.  She said it was happy and light and they reportedly plan further extensive renovations in much the same way they (or mare specifically Brad) worked on Miraval.

Laura Wasser reminded Lance Spiegel last November 2016 that the reunification process was estimated to take from 6 months to a year -- but this was before Brad tried to muscle his way past the therapists.  How much Brad's ill-advised legal and other actions could have setback his securing favorable evaluations from the therapists and the custody evaluator is perhaps the outstanding question now.   Attempting to circumvent the Custody Stipulation and side-step the therapists almost surely carried serious consequences, but even his recent pick up of a joint may have had repercussions.  The Custody Stipulation includes a provision for weekly random drug and alcohol tests which could detect even a single use of pot, and it has not been legally lifted.


*Two weeks ago, Joaquim Rønning posted a photo taken in his brand new, still empty office at Walt Disney Studios with the note "New office - new adventure ✨đŸ’«✨",   and then just today (12/11), he posted a new note that he was on his way from L.A. to London.

Recall she told Baz Bamigboye in September:
'They like the idea of going to London, so we are looking at the possibility of maybe doing Maleficent 2, perhaps in January.  
They do like the idea of Mum doing something with action. They want Mum to get herself together, and do some kick-ass. It's been a while. My last action film was eight years ago,'
She told Feinberg on the topic of action movies: "I'm looking for one now, in fact, 'cause of this time in my life, I feel like I need to." She is actually looking at one as Maleficent will apparently be kicking-ass in the sequel.

-- Fussy

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