The actress plays against type in the cold war drama
Angelina Jolie's presence at The Good Shepherd press junket resulted in a paparazzi onslaught rarely seen in New York City. She was literally under siege from the tabloid media. I've interviewed my fair share of famous people, but every once in a while you get the real deal, a bonafide movie star. Angelina Jolie is truly the definition of a movie star. Beyond her exotic beauty and remarkable talent, she is a fascinating individual. She has an appeal that just draws you in. I give her credit for being professional and forthcoming in a zoo-like atmosphere. Angelina spoke at length about playing the conservative wife of a CIA agent, and the possibility of starring in the sequel to Sin City.
What was it about this character that attracted you? She's not nearly the strong, assertive character that you've played previously.
Angelina Jolie: I do see her in the end as being as strong as a woman could be at that time, but I did like that there were already things about her that were broken, and often I don't get to play that part. That's why it took a while for Bob [De Niro] to decide. She is subservient, more vulnerable and very broken. As an actress, it's a great challenge.
Did you have to prove to De Niro that you could play the part?
Angelina Jolie: I think he needed to understand that I really knew her and would play her accurately. He's very specific to every detail of this film. He cares about it a lot. He could obviously see that I was capable of doing it. I think he had to know that I understood her. We talked about it a lot to make sure he did.
It's been written that you felt a deep connection to her...
Angelina Jolie: Yeah, I think that kind of feeling alone, I didn't necessarily feel that in a marriage per se, but in my life I've often felt it. She's surrounded by a lot of secrets, a lot of quiet, a lot of people just accepting, and as much as she's broken; she's the only person that is desperate to scream out and to try to get some something honest. I tend to want to be that person. I would start drinking something terrible if I were in a situation where I was surrounded by lies or quiet or secrets. It's just not a real life.
Can you talk about how being a mom in real life related to this film?
Angelina Jolie: That was the one thing that kept me connected to her. There was so much about her I didn't identify with, but her love and commitment to her son; and the fear that her son would get involved in this dangerous silent world. So much of the film was a study in restraint, because I live in a time where a woman can say, "I'm leaving, I'm getting a divorce." She had to maintain a certain type of composure, quiet, decency, just settle into that life, and it was that time and the CIA, the idea of getting out was impossible as a woman.
How hard was it to play a rejected, unloved wife?
Angelina Jolie: I do have two divorces. (laughs) But I'm still good friends with them, so it's okay. I think it's easier to play when you do have a balanced home. I think if I did have alcoholism in my personal life, or my mother, or somebody close to me, it might have been much more uncomfortable to get in there. And that kind of relationship with a man, I've never had that in my life because I've always married artists.
You've done a lot of humanitarian work in developing countries where the CIA operates behind the scenes. Have you experienced any direct or indirect activity with the CIA?
Angelina Jolie: That's such a huge question. I've never been clearly aware of something specific, but I think certainly I've witnessed our foreign policy and I've witnessed the change in the perception of America 's foreign policy in the last few years. Every trip I take, the field has been different because of the changes we have made and I'm sure the CIA has had a hand in that.
What are the changes you've seen in your travels?
Angelina Jolie: To be completely honest, five years ago when I started travelling and I would say I was American, everybody was very, very excited. They thought it was the greatest thing in the world, and now you feel cautious. You feel that people are a bit not so joyful about that. They're questioning my country and people would say things like, "It's extraordinary that you're here. You're American." American people are very caring, generous people. That's been proven, but it's not what our government has represented in the last few years.
Matt Damon actually got to spend time with CIA families. Were you able to talk to some of the CIA wives?
Angelina Jolie: I didn't because most of the people that they could talk to were the men. The CIA and the women like Clover were kind of absent or had been quieted. It was almost impossible to talk to the women and I think in reality the women knew so little. There would be very little to talk about. My choice was really to talk to nobody, really understand nothing, and be trapped in this world. I just stayed in the dark.
Frank Miller has stated publicly that he wants you for Sin City 2. Have you spoken to him?
Angelina Jolie: We talked about it and I read the comic. I don't think the film is being made at this moment. When it's actually going to be made I'm sure we'll talk about it. It was a funny thing, because the idea came to me when I was pregnant. I've been Clover, depressed and quiet, and then I was feeling very maternal, pregnant. It was this idea of this sexy, violent, and loud character. I thought maybe after I'm pregnant it would be nice to do.
Do you know when it might shoot?
Angelina Jolie: I don't know when it might go and if I have time when it does, but I like the comics and I love him as a director, so it's possibility.
Will you work with your husband, Brad Pitt, again?
Angelina Jolie: Who's going to watch the children? (laughs)
The Good Shepherd is in theaters December 22nd and is rated 'R' for some violence, sexuality and language.