Angelina Jolie - Shark Tale

Angelina Jolie - Shark Tale

Angelina Jolie/Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Interview by PaulFischer in Los Angeles.

Angelina Jolie smilingly admits that motherhood sometimes dictates the kindsof roles she chooses. Yet motherhood has in no way slowed down the busystar, who has three films coming out in the remainder of the year, from thespecial effects-laden Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, to OliverStone's Alexander and the animated Shark Tale. "It's been more about timeright now because he's so young," says Jolie, who's in Los Angeles promotingSky Captain. "When he's older, I think, it might be the type of character Ichoose, but for now I was happy to do 'Sky Captain' because I had three daysand I was able to do it quickly. If it was a month, it's that much longeraway from my son, so I like the films now that I can do less in."

Jolie, often defined by a clear inner strength which has parallels with the kindsof women she portrays, says that she has gained that strength from her ownmother. "I think that I was raised by my mother to be very honest andstraightforward, and I don't judge people. I love people when they areexactly who they are and they're straightforward about it and they're comingat me with whatever that is. So I tend to do that boldly because I don'tlook down upon, but I'm not comfortable with the other if that makes anysense. So I was always encouraged to be a hundred percent just whatever itis I am and who I am. Maybe because I've gone through, like we all have,different things be it my parents or that I'm a parent now or travelling theworld and seeing that there is real pain and that there are things to bereally frightened and really scared of and really emotional about, and thatthe other things that I live with on a daily basis are not those things. SoI tend not to be scared of things that are now just not as serious."

Jolie says that she has attained inspiration not only from her son, but fromlife. "I just want to live a very full life. I love making films and am veryfortunate that I get to do them. I love being creative in this form, butthere was a time when I think that I lived through my characters and I'venow found that I prefer my life. But I think that most actors have thatthing where you go, 'I'd love to go do a film in the Sahara.' Why not justgo, 'Why don't I just take my family and go across the Sahara and learnabout those people and spend time there.' So yeah, my focus in this life isthat I'd like to die feeling that I have been useful as a person, have doneas much as I could with my life, explored cultures and peoples and lands andraised a family. So that's all I want to do and in between that I have thiswonderful job that I'd like to enjoy."

Part of that job is playing make believe and that fantasy element is trulyexemplified in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, in which she plays aone-eyed military commander helping the heroic sky captain of the title[Jude Law] to basically save the world. The difference between this film andyour typical Hollywood adventure is that the entire film was shot against agreen screen, including sequences set underwater and on massive battleships. Jolie laughingly concede that shooting a film such as that was it was"a bit strange".

I think that Jude [Law] and Gwyneth [Paltrow] had it worsebecause they had things coming at them that they were freaking out about,while I had ships coming in behind me and things like that. But I think thatas actors, we tend to play make believe all the time, so we're used to afake room or fake set." Jolie says that doing a film like this, in which youtotally depend on imagination, is part of the fantasy element she enjoys asan actor. "There was one moment where I had the bubble on and the eye patchwhere I was just sitting on a box and wasn't in a plane or anywhere. I wasjust in a room full of a hundred people, my English accent had to be verycool and I was just sitting on this cardboard box pretending that I wassitting on something completely different. At first it felt very silly andthen I think that it's great to get back to what's fun about this business.It's creative and you try things that aren't safe, get to be silly again andbe bold with your choices, which was nice and refreshing."

Jolie says that she was drawn to this unique adventure story because "I justthought that as an artist it was something that was original and hadn't beendone before, so it was kind of a brave place to be. There was a bit ofeveryone going in and trying for something and I miss that spirit of thingsa lot. When you do films these days, you just lose that sense of fun andadventure and 'Let's try something that hasn't been done before.' So forthat, just to be a part of it was exciting, but I also loved my character."

The actress's imagination was further put to the test as one of the fishyvoices of Shark Tale, in which she plays "the bad fish. To do an animatedfilm is a very different experience and this was an amazing process. I wasjust trying to make voices and I hate my own voice. Like most people, youlisten to yourself on the phone or an answering machine and you're like,'Ugh', and so to do something with just your voice is hard." Jolielaughingly recalls her initial meeting on Shark Tale. "When I was invited into meet with them on Shark Tale, they brought me into this room and therewere all these different pictures of fish. They were going to explain to mewhat they wanted me to do and I kind of looked around and saw this fish thatI could see Will [Smith] doing. Then I looked at this other fish and sawthis fish with this big red mouth and pointy eyebrows. I thought, 'They cantalk as long as they want. I know that I'm THAT fish.' I saw herimmediately, I knew it and I liked her. It was me just kind of filling thoseshoes because they made her very sparkly and sexy."

While these two films reinforced Jolie's inner child, working on OliverStone's Alexander, where she plays Olympias, represented a differentchallenge for this Oscar winner. "I loved doing Alexander, and I think thatas an actor, that's more fulfilling," Jolie admits. "It has a soul, you canbe this woman and go through so many different emotions. You can alsoanalyse yourself, the world and your relationships, so when you're done withthat film you feel like you've really grown and changed, which I like." Asfor working with the often prickly Oliver Stone, Jolie chooses her wordscarefully in describing her relationship with the contentious director. "Ithink that you can agree or disagree with Oliver or where he's coming from,but you can't kind of debate who he is. He is who he is and he's coming verystraightforward with everything, which I appreciated. He didn't allow anyoneto be safe. If anything, he demands a certain kind of commitment and braveryand doesn't allow for anyone to kind of get too relaxed. He pushes things sothat they're more and he does know life more than most people and has livedvery fully in his life. So when he does films that deal with war, loss,love, pain and relationships, then he's drawing from a very deep well."

Yet, adds Jolie, working with Stone was an intense experience. "With him youcan't really come in and say, 'I don't feel like, or I'm not sure of or I'dlike to change this or give me a few more minutes to get in this place.'It's kind of like he wanted me to be her and he wanted me to come on set asher. He wanted us all to live as our characters and he'd get upset if I lostmy accent when we were out to dinner."

Jolie also hopes to produce a film based on another historical character,that of Russia's Catherine the Great. Here is an actress clearly inspired bywomen of the past, and this one has always held a particular fascination forher. "I love those historical characters, but I do think that they need tobe done right, which is why it's never been a situation where I'm certainlydoing that. That one, the more I've researched her the more I think that herstory is very complicated and needs to be done correctly, so I get nervousthat they could be done wrong. I take it seriously especially if it's awhole people's country or a people's hero. To step into that and say, 'OkayI'm going to be this woman that you revere or respect or like or dislike,she's a part of your history,' then I just take that more seriously. I wantto make sure that it's how people see her and it represents who she actuallywas. So I'm fascinated by those kinds of women, such as Olympias, who wasn'teveryone's favourite woman. She was a bit dark, but I still wanted to tryand respect who I thought she was."

Jolie may immerse herself into the worlds of these strong women, but onecharacter who will not resurface again is Lara Croft. "Look, I loved doingthose movies, I learned so much and I had a great time, but I tend to notwant to do them again."

Jolie's other priority remains her son, and to give him the kind of joyoussense of family that she missed out on as a child, especially at Christmas."I've never really had a great Christmas, because I come from a separatedhome. So having a child I always thought, 'I better get the tree, I betterget this, and I better make a home and Christmas.' Instead, I ended updeciding that I would show him the world every Christmas. So this pastChristmas, I took him to see the Pyramids on Christmas day, and I've decidedthat every Christmas I will take him somewhere else. I'm trying to figureout this year what it's going to be. I'm looking at world heritage sitesfrom the Taj Mahal to the Amazon," says Jolie, smilingly.

As to whether the actress plans to adopt again she is keeping her cards veryclose to her chest. "I haven't met a child, I'm always in the process andI've kind of done all my paperwork in case that day comes. I'll always livelike that having done it so much on the American side, so if I went into anorphanage tomorrow and it felt right, for whatever reason I'd do it."

Jolie continues to pursue other passions, including flying. "I have learnedto fly and it's great. I've been flying solo and bought a plane." It's allpart of Jolie's consistent sense of adventure which shows no signs ofslowing down.

Shark Tale opens in SEPTEMBER
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow opens in October.
Alexander opens in FEBRUARY.

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