Back in July, Universal Pictures acquired the worldwide rights to Angelina Jolie's third directorial effort, By the Sea, which reunites the actress with her husband Brad Pitt for the first time on screen since 2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith. With production already under way, Entertainment Weekly has released the first three photos, featuring Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their co-star Niels Arestrup. Check out the images below, then read on for more details from the director.

<strong><em>By the Sea</em></strong> Photo 1
<strong><em>By the Sea</em></strong> Photo 2
<strong><em>By the Sea</em></strong> Photo 3

Production began September 8 in Malta, just a few weeks after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got married after a decade-long relationship. While no plot information was given in the July report, Entertainment Weekly has revealed the first story details below.

"Set in France during the mid-1970s, Jolie plays Vanessa, a former dancer, and Pitt is her husband Roland, an American writer. As they travel the country together, they seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper (War Horse and War Horse's Niels Arestrup) and hotel owner (Richard Bohringer, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover)."

When asked why she chose 1970s France as the setting for By the Sea, Angelina Jolie had this to say.

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"I chose to set By the Sea in the 1970s, not only because it is a colorful and alluring era, but because it removes many of the distractions of contemporary life and allows the focus to remain squarely on the emotions that the characters experience in their journey."

She went on to add that a "found family" is assembled between these characters as their stories are shared, which changes the way they perceive each other.

Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley also offered her first reactions to Angelina Jolie's script.

"I was struck by the fact that she and Brad are willing to bring such a brave endeavor to screen and take audiences on this raw, emotional journey that's simultaneously of its moment and surprisingly timeless."

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are both producing the drama, with Chris Brigham, Holly Goline and Michael Tuviera serving as executive producers.

Cinematographer Christian Berger, an Oscar nominee for his work on The White Ribbon, revealed he will be largely utilizing natural light for By the Sea, while using a system he developed known as the Cine Reflect Lighting System, which uses reflectors to create a "warmer and less distracting environment." Here's what the director of photography had to say about his method of shooting By the Sea.

"It changes the method of working on set for the director and the actors, and in this film enhances the period and atmosphere."

Production is slated to continue through mid-November, although Universal Pictures has not announced a release date yet. Angelina Jolie made her directorial debut with 2011's In the Land of Blood and Honey, and her follow-up Unbroken is slated for release on Christmas Day through Universal Pictures.