Salt director Phillip Noyce discusses reuniting with Angelina Jolie and the three different versions of Salt on the DVD and Blu-ray
When director Phillip Noyce first worked with an up and coming young star named Angelina Jolie, it was in the year 1999 with a Denzel Washington vehicle called The Bone Collector. Little did most know that just a few months after The Bone Collector's release, she'd be walking away with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Girl, Interrupted, which launched her astronomically successful career. More than a decade later, the director and star reunited with the action-thriller Salt, which will be released on DVD, unrated DVD and Blu-ray on December 21. I had the privilege to speak with Phillip Noyce over the phone about this high-octane action movie and here's what he had to say:
You first came on board with Salt in 2008 when it was called Edwin A. Salt and it was still a Tom Cruise vehicle. Can you talk about the process of changing this from a Tom Cruise movie to an Angelina Jolie vehicle?
Phillip Noyce: Well, we had to change, obviously, all the names, but also the relationships. A male spy has a different set of relationships with people that he works with. In some ways, it became more complex with a female. One example is, the disappointment that her mentor, Ted Winter, was able to express, in a way is greater when he's a man and she's a woman, than when their both men.
It's been quite some time since you've directed an action movie. What would you say was the biggest difference in the genre that you encountered this time around?
Phillip Noyce: Well, I would say that the use of CGI is the biggest difference, but we didn't really use a lot of CGI in the movie. I'd say a lot of that is because, in the 10 years since I have worked with Angelina Jolie, she has really become an adrenaline junkie. She loves doing her own stunts and was really game for anything. There were scenes that we would plan out that I never thought she would want to do herself, but she did them all.
The fans will really get their money's worth out of this DVD since there are three separate cuts of the movie. Is there one version that comes the closest to your original vision or Kurt Wimmer's original script?
Phillip Noyce: That all came about in an unusual way. While we were in production, I was approached by a man who was asking me all kinds of questions about what kinds of shots might be cut from the movie. It turns out the man was from Sony's home entertainment department and he asked if I would be willing to produce another cut of the movie for the DVD. I said that I probably would have enough material for two different cuts, so that's what we did.
Wow. You normally don't hear about director's cuts developing like that too often. That must have been very freeing for you.
Phillip Noyce: Oh, absolutely. It really allowed me to focus on making the best possible product without having to worry what would get cut, because I could just put something on one of the other versions. I'd say that the closest version from the original script would be the extended director's cut. In the theatrical cut, there's a death scene and it's a very quick and jarring scene. In the extended director's cut, we see the whole scene and really get to feel her sense of loss after that event, how deeply painful that death is to her. It's wonderful to still be able to use all of these bits and pieces that would normally be cut and assemble them into a different cut of the film.
There was a story back in August that Kurt Wimmer was writing a sequel to Salt and you would be interested in directing that. Are there any updates you can give us on that?
Phillip Noyce: Oh no, I don't think I would do a sequel. We had to edit and make new music and effects for the two director's cuts, so I think that I've given all I can to the movie with those three versions. I would like to see a sequel, but it would have to be another director with a new perspective.
You do have a number of projects in development like Timeless, Dirt Music, Wenceslas Square and others. Do you have any idea which of those will be your next movie?
Phillip Noyce: With Dirt Music, we have Russell Crowe attached and Christopher Hampton from Atonement is writing the script. Timeless is also happening but right now we're not sure which will go first.
To wrap up, what would you like to say to those who didn't see Salt in theaters about why they should pick up the DVD and Blu-ray?
Phillip Noyce: The Blu-ray looks simply fantastic and there are a lot of great special features. And if you don't get your money's worth with all three cuts on the DVD, then you might have to find something else to pick up. I think all of the different cuts of the movie and the special features make it more than worth it to give it a look.
Excellent. That's about all I have for you, Phillip. Thanks so much for your time and best of luck with your future projects.
Phillip Noyce: Thank you, Brian.