Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie A Mighty Big Heart Interview

Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie A Mighty Big Heart Interview
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl disappeared while investigating a story in Karachi, on shoe bomber Richard Reid in 2002. Daniel was later found murdered, and his beheading was documented on camera. Mariane, his wife who was heavily pregnant at the time, wrote a book about her experiences and A Mighty Heart is the big screen adaptation by Michael Wiinterbottom (The Road to Guantanamo). Angelina Jolie stars as Mariane and Dan Futterman (who wrote Capote) as Daniel. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year to rave reviews. Gaynor Flynn was lucky enough to squeeze into the very crowded press conference attended by Angelina Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt, who was one of the producers of the film.

Gaynor Flynn: We really get a feel for Mariane through yourperformance here.

Angelina Jolie: I hope so, this is one of our first interviewsand first response so we're really getting to see itso anything you say we're going to hang onto it. No Icertainly hope so and we're all holding our breath andshe seems to think we did it all right and I'm veryrelieved. She is an extraordinary woman as Danny wasan extraordinary man so it was a hard job to be goodenough to play them but we certainly care about them.

Gaynor Flynn: Is it more powerful for you to play in a film likethis because of its emotional value its symbolicvalue? Are you much more careful when making a filmlike this?

Angelina Jolie: Oh of course, and not just for accuracybecause these things really happened but because theseare real people and there's real families and I thinkwe all had in mind that there's a little boy who's oneday going to grow up and see this film and we'rerepresenting his parents and this time in their lifebut all these people lives from the Captain to Asrathis was a defining moment in their life and what theydid or did not do and if we represented them these arethings I'm sure they still lose sleep about everynight and they're people and they're good people andit was a big responsibility to do that but they allwere very encouraging about getting the message outand for that we all felt very comfortable and unitedand able to do that.

Gaynor Flynn: When you knew you were going to play this part did yousay, how am I going to do it?

Angelina Jolie: I'd been aware of her, I'd read her book. I'dadmired her from afar and then we did want to justhave a play date (Pearls son and Jolie's children) andsomehow ended up in all of this together but it isbecause we do have a lot that is very different but alot that is in common and I care very much about herand the story and I believe very much in her voice andI was very very nervous to get it right and workedvery very hard to try and in the end we've all at thistable had a chance to learn a lot and get closer andgrow and so just the experience itself I'm just sograteful for. But I do have the good fortune ofknowing her as a friend and it's hard to play somebodythat you know and care about so in an authentic way soit took a while to get comfortable.

Gaynor Flynn: I think this is the first time you're making a jointappearance before the world press in Cannes and how doyou feel about that?

Brad Pitt: You know truthfully it doesn't feel that muchdifferent for us because we usually got a camerafollowing us around every day in some capacity, butits not a conscious effort other than we're reallyhappy to be here with this project and with everyonehere on this dais with the other cast. We have greatrespect for this story and its place in the world andour friendship that has formed because of it and themessage is very important to us and we think it standson its own and that's first and foremost in our minds.

Gaynor Flynn: Your character in the film has a lot of gravity; didyou have a number of studio projects on your platethat you said no to at the time in order to do thisone, with more substance?

Angelina Jolie: Honestly when we really decided to do this Iwas six months pregnant sitting in Namibia notthinking about working at all, so it wasn't like that.It came from a very organic place as I think the bestfilms do you know. I couldn't stop thinking aboutthis story. I wanted to see Mariane. Wanted to talk toher, wanted to get to know her as a woman and the filmkind of came as very much a second thought and then itwas a challenge to do it, and it felt right and itkept coming naturally together. I think we all saidthrough the whole thing if this doesn't feel right wedrop it, its too important and every single person hadthat feeling and somehow it just kept coming togetherand being okay and we ended up doing it and I'm veryglad.

Gaynor Flynn: There are a huge number of actors working in theproduction field what can an actor bring to theproduction area?

Brad Pitt: We probably get in the way. But what Iappreciate most we get to be a part of projects thatnormally we wouldn't be right for on the acting frontand stories like this which I was very taken with andin fact taken with it from the first moment itappeared on CNN by their example of strength and itwas important for me to be a part of that. Andthrough the producing conduit we get to do that andtake part in these kinds of films and see them throughto the end and find the right people like the cast yousee here and that's the producers job to make thingsstay on the road and it's a really interesting side tofilmmaking itself and you don't have to be in front ofthe camera.

Gaynor Flynn: What did it take to gain their confidence to have youmake this film?

Brad Pitt: It was more important that we hear theirconcerns, if there were concerns that did exist andthat we honour the memory as they see fit but it was areally wonderful sit down we had and it wasn't aboutany kind of convincing and as Angie said earlier if itall made sense and fell into place then we'll see thisthing through and it was our goal to see this thingthrough because of what it represents about journalismand our interconnectedness and people coming togetherand fighting hatred and so there was certainly nocoercing any point in this project.

Gaynor Flynn: How were you affected by this film?

Brad Pitt: Well first of all there's so much aboutMichael's (Winterbottom the director) work that in ourdiscussion here that we really felt like he was thebest story teller for this one. He's a citizen of theworld he's worked in these areas, he's a worldtraveller. He focuses on these issues out of his owninterest and he's a funny man. Guantanamo, was goingto be really difficult to achieved some kind of lovestory especially if its done in flashbacks and toachieve that its got to be successfully created inwhiffs and smells and instances and there were momentsthat he did that in Guantanamo when he focused on theboys in their normal habitat in the pizza parlous andwe were able understand who they were at home withouthaving to say it or play it out or make any kind ofgrant punctuation and that's another thing that Iappreciate about Michaels film he follows the life. He doesn't create the life it's a raw approach tofilmmaking that I think applied itself to thejournalistic nature of this story.

Gaynor Flynn: Mariane said she trusted you but was there a momentwhen you felt you had really nailed this part?

Angelina Jolie: (laughs) I did finally speak to her days aftershe saw it and she told me it was all right in so manywords so yes it was the thing that I had been nervousabout days before the shooting. The night before thefirst day of shooting I was very, very nervous anddidn't know if I really could do it at all and so forher to tell me that she felt it was done right I can'ttell you how much that means to me.

Gaynor Flynn: How over the course of your involvement in thisproject, have your feelings changed with Americanconfrontation with extreme fundamentalism?

Angelina Jolie: For me so much of why this film was importanttoday is because I highly doubt if there is anymore inthis room who has reason to hold hate inside herselfthan Mariane and she doesn't. She is a verycompassionate thoughtful person who looks to dialogueto change things to make things better. She looks toworking at it to understand better and not just tocome to any quick conclusions about any one group andshe can speak better for herself I'm sure, but that isI think a lesson for all of us. And when there was aninterview only days after she lost Danny one of thethings that struck me the most was that she made apoint of saying that during that month ten otherpeople had lost their lives to terrorism and the factthat somebody could focus on the loss the other sidewas taking in the battle is I think a very evolved wayof thinking and I think that is something that isoften lost today and I think it is why we all wantedto do this film.

Gaynor Flynn: One of the strong themes in the film is motherhood andfamily and Angelina can you speak a little about howmotherhood has changed you and also Brad being aparent and what that has given you?

Angelina Jolie: I'll say how it relates to the film which is Ithink that many people know this story and I thinkthey tend to forget that Mariane was five and a halfmonths pregnant at the time so through it all throughall the fighting and her trying to stay calm and herworking so hard to be really deeply involved in thecase to find her husband and losing sleep over it shewas five and a half months pregnant and when we weregoing over this story I was about that and when wewere making plans to figure out which scene would bewhich and I remember being six months pregnant andthinking I can't imagine not having the father withme, and being concerned about his life and trying toeat and trying to remember to get some sleep andtrying to remember to take a deep breath andphysically trying to move around. So as a woman itjust made me so much connected to her and aware of herand also knowing that carrying that life inside, thatlittle boy that is half Danny that is so so amazingand her love I'm sure there also couldn't be a greatergift at that time to pull you through something likethat so it's an extraordinary thing. So I am gratefulthat I knew what pregnancy was at that time tounderstand a little more deeply into her.

Brad Pitt: As a father too I look at my kids and realise they will inherit this world and I know its true for Mariane as well and we want to do everything we can to throw our weight in and to make it a little bit better.

Gaynor Flynn: Brad, do you see yourself one day as a director andAngelina you do so many dramas lately does that meanwe won't see you in Tomb Raider 3?

Brad Pitt: No directing for me. I think there's plenty ofgood guys doing it so I don't think I'm needed.

Angelina Jolie: I've been fortunate that I've been able to havethat balance as an actress to be able to do the wildfun action movies and also be allowed to do the dramasand hopefully if I can keep that balance I would loveto always be able to do both.

Gaynor Flynn: Is it important to always choose films that support your political beliefs?

Angelina Jolie: No not always I mean I don't make a point toalways try to preach everything I believe. I alsothink there is room for entertainment so I am stillcapable of being very silly and fun and justentertaining and because we have children that's alsovery motivating to make something they will enjoy butcertainly it does mean so much more to me and I careso much more and spend so much more time on a filmlike this and it changes me and that doesn't happenwhen you do other films. These are the types of filmsthat change the way you see the world. That change theway you feel about this art form and it certainlyalways feels better to be able to make something thatreally does mean as much as something like this andhas such a strong message.

Gaynor Flynn: This film portrays different kinds of journalism andyour character runs the gamut of emotion, I wondersomeone so exposed to that aspect of the media haveyour views on journalism changed and how did youtackle those scenes?

Angelina Jolie: I think if anything the funny thing is probablythe opposite of what you expect. Through that therewere the scenes which were paparazzi and I felt sorryfor her thinking about my god what this must be likefor somebody in that situation. But I really can'timagine going through that and having that kind ofmedia coverage for something as difficult as that andsomebody who's not used to it and somebody's who's ajournalist themselves. I was more fascinated but Icouldn't really imagine on the other side of it I readDanny' articles, got to know more of Mariane work andI found that I revisited my feelings about press andjournalism and my great appreciation for honestjournalists and people who go out there and reallycommit themselves and I know Dan felt that way and howmuch they committed themselves to different parts ofthe world and educate themselves and work so hard touncover a truth and you're just reminded of what agreat thing a journalist can be and should be and isand I have much deeper respect I think.

Gaynor Flynn: What's interesting about the film is that it doesn'tcondemn anyone.

Brad Pitt: For me the themes that really spoke to me atfirst and from Mariane's words is something what Angiementioned before about the ideas what journalism couldbe creating dialogue and to make an informed decisionyou have to understand the unbiased dynamics of asituation to move the thing forward and as aprofession and as a global community we seem to befailing, or we could be doing better. I'm saying weas a whole, civilians, hearing the other side,understanding the other side instead of immediatelyjumping to demonisation or some kind of simplificationbecause things are complex and two this idea of takingthis man and trying to destroy him but it actuallybrought people from different cultures and differentfaiths together. It actually did the opposite of whatit was intended to do and I find that very powerfuland again a great example for the world and last andcertainly not least the strength of Mariane throughthis situation for me it was an epiphany as Angiesaid. She had every reason to come out of thisembittered and angry and full of hatred and insteadshe's shown us another way and even that wasrecognisable when it hit the airways, her strengthinstead of the idea of victim and the way she battledthis I find incredibly impressive and it lights a wayfor me.

Gaynor Flynn: I'm curious about power of cinema to tell as specific story that has a broader meaning. Could you talk about delving into this specific story to tell a larger story?

Angelina Jolie: From my point of view I was focused on gettingto know Mariane as a woman and learning about her andreading her work and trying to understand where shewas coming from as a woman, as a mother, as a wife andthe relationships with the different people aroundher. Its an interesting story there are so manydifferent stories people could pull from it and eventhe questions everybody seems to be able to interpretone way or the other but one of the things that meantthe most to me and was the most interesting to me washer relationship with the Captain (Irfan Khan) who wasa Pakistani man, a Muslim man and he became her bestfriend, an absolute rock and Asra (Archie Panjabi) aswell. But this was a very interesting time for thesetwo people considering what was going on in the worldand to her family and I think it's a friendship thatshould be looked at and thought about and itsextraordinary one so that as an actress, not justbetween our characters but to learn about that in theworld and to meet these people and to meet people fromall these different faiths there was pretty muchsomeone from every faith represented in that house andconsidering so much of this people say this aggressionis about faith it was very interesting to have a houseof these different faiths coming together withfriendship and concern and talking and dialogue andwhat that symbolises.


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