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March 2004
Taking Lives: An Interview with Angelina Jolie

Taking Lives: An Interview with Angelina Jolie

A few box office pitfalls hasn't stopped Oscar winner Angelina Jolie from coming back to the big screen. Since starring as "Lara Croft Tomb Raider", which was financially successful, Angelina Jolie has a couple of misses as of late, notably last year with the sequel to Lara Croft and "Beyond Borders". Sure enough, rather than sit back and think about her film choices, she's back with another film and will seen throughout the year with roles in "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", "Alexander", "Shark Tale", and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith". But for now, her latest film has her starring as Special Agent Illeana Scott on the hunt for a serial killer in "Taking Lives". In speaking with blackfilm.com, Ms. Jolie talks about the research she did for the film and her approach to nudity on screen.

WM: How much research did you do for the film and what did you take away from that?

AJ: I had some stuff with forensics when I did "Bone Collector", but this was very different. A profiler is some who puts the clues together, but goes on human behavior and types of people, and they work so much on their senses to get inside and find the sixth sense. So we met with a woman and she sat with me and DJ (Caruso) in the room and showed us a bunch of slides of the worst things you ever see and asked us what kind of person we think would do this. That's the kind of work we, analyze the situation and try to figure it out. We kept trying to figure it out and put pieces together of why people do things and if we can figure it out through looking at the crime. In meeting that woman, I asked her if she was married or if she had kids. You find that they don't have much of a life cause they bring their work home and they don't leave it at work. She's the kind of woman that will come home and have dinner but is obsessing death and murder, it's hard.

WM: Did that research fascinate you, to study the mind of a killer?

AJ: Yeah. I'm fascinated in a good way. I fascinated with this idea that there are brain patterns that can be read now. I'm fascinated with that. That's based on a true thing that's in the film. That you can actually test the frontal lobe and it reacts differently on people that have committed murders. So that says that if someone who sees blood in a room and faints, and someone doesn't, there's something different in our bodies, in our makeup, and some people react differently. Some people have no emotion when it comes to really brutal things. You would have to try to track those people and logically talk to them as they are growing up. All of that fascinates me.

WM: Were you ever consumed by work?

AJ: Oh yeah. Not as much acting, but life, and experiences. I go through stages a lot. I'm very much as a woman. I don't have a man in my life and I'm focusing on my son and my work and my life experiences and that's the choice I've made. I couldn't possible balance the other. I wouldn't have the time or energy for it.

WM: How do you feel when you read the script and you are constantly surrounded by men?

AJ: I think because it is so much, it's fine because it gotta be funny, it's ridiculous.

WM: Do you see any similarities between you and your character?

AJ: I don't know. I haven't seen the film as of yet, so I don't know if her back story is still in the film. That would be interesting. If not, it will be on the DVD.

WM: This was a big physical role for you. Did you get hurt while shooting the film?

AJ: No. I supposed that I have done more physical things when compared to this. I got bruises from one scene but I didn't say anything because we had three days of shooting the scene, and I kept telling the actor, "I'm fine. Keep shooting. Don't pull back." Then I would go home with ice packs.

WM: Other than that, is this the kind of thing you can leave at the job or do you take this home with you?

AJ: I can't take anything home with me now because I'm a parent, so I just do. DJ's kids, Ethan's kids, and my kid were all there and they helped us come back to reality.

WM: Is it almost scary to confront the normal way these people look, knowing the evil that's out there?

AJ: Absolutely, it's certainly makes you think about what people can do, and never to underestimate. But I think that just about general things in life. You can see someone in a darker way and not know how sinister they can be. You can walk by people in the street and not know what they just went through in their life. We don't look at each other that way and I think in a positive way, we should try to do so.

WM: What scares you? Do you get scared watching some films?

AJ: I don't watch films, which I should never admit to being an actress, but I don't actually. The only thing that can possibly scare me is something happening to someone I love, especially my son. That's only thing that gets me. I see him fall off something and I get this weird head rush. That's the only time I get scared.

WM: When you first read the script, was there anything you wanted to add to the character?

AJ: Yeah. When the character was first written, the idea of having the woman coming in so tough, so cool, flawless, and knows everything, wasn't appealing to me. I didn't like her. We wanted to make sure that she was human and weird and flawed and had her own secrets and had her own things about her that wasn't together. She's not together when it comes to social things and when it comes to relationships. Any contact with real people and she's actually strange.

WM: What did you incorporate into the character from your personality?

AJ: I guess I tend to get lost in thought and then have to remember to snap out of it and be light when being directed. I don't realize how dark I can be at times, but in a moody way, but just deep in thought that tends to get everyone asking me if I'm okay. You learn to say, "I'm fine." That and working at relationships and having that issue of trust and connection, cause my character is in her own world in some way. That's certainly similar.

WM: You don't seem to have any doubts about romantic scenes. Why do allow yourself to go the full distance with nudity if need be?

AJ: I thought with this film you didn't see as much as you thought you saw. I thought it was nicely done, very sensual and very open. I don't get funny about nudity. I give more of myself when I'm extremely open emotionally than when I just have my shirt off. And also if it's important to the movie; this was obviously a very important moment in the movie and it could have really been done very exploitive and we have been very shy about it, but we could have also made it more than it was. I thought it was done as it should be.

WM: Do you think about the violence in the film and how the audience will react to it or are you into just telling the story?

AJ: It is a concern with some of these scenes. You can certainly tell. We did some things that the moment we did them, the entire crew felt sick. It was such an image that made everyone uncomfortable. When you get weird vibe on set, you know that you are doing something that affecting the people around you, and it will affect the audience too. But you want to make sure that it's depicted correctly and I think in this film, we knew that it is an ugly world, and it could have very ugly. The things we learned about that we could have had the characters doing based on real cases would have been more graphic, but it was important to show it as it was. So we didn't worry about how gory or scary it was, because we knew how much it should be.

WM: What's next for you?

AJ: I'm finishing "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" with Brad Pitt, and then I'm taking some time off and then how to fly a plane and take Maddox to school.

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