A Q&A with Angelina Jolie, cast and crew of 'Salt'
When Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor and the director and producer of "Salt" recently gathered in Washington, D.C., they went through the usual movie press junket routine. And part of that traditional junket routine involves the ritual known as the press roundtable, a time when the talent rotates between various rooms filled with reporters, each stepping on each other's sentences in an effort to jam as many important questions as possible into a 15 to 20-minute period. (Example of an important question: "So what was it like working with Angelina Jolie?")
We at Celebritology could treat you to a full, thoroughly illuminating transcript of the nearly two-hour round table sessions regarding the suspected spy thriller. But in an effort to save you some time, this post just hits the Q&A highlights. Want to know whether Jolie really intends to give up acting, as recently reported in Vanity Fair? Or why shooting a movie on the streets of Washington, D.C. can be a pain in the rear? Then read on.
Question: What was your response to the story about the Russian spy network here in the U.S., news that broke shortly before "Salt's" promotional push began?
Angelina Jolie: "It was the day before we started press. So at first I just didn’t believe it. I just thought it was bizarre. My reaction was two-fold. The part of me that’s interested in politics felt, I hope this doesn’t affect our relationship with Russia, and our relationships moving forward in Afghanistan and Iran and all these things, and I don’t know what this means. And then the other part of me that does films thought, what extraordinary timing."
Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer: "That’s really a hard news thing and we’re really an entertainment thing, so I dont try to make too much of the comparison of the two, honestly. It was great, I think, in getting people to take the notion of this movie seriously, that there are sleeper spies out there. So on that level I think it really helped us and was really great."
Question: Angelina, did any of your kids see you dressed up in the man disguise your character wears during one "Salt" scene?
Angelina Jolie: [My son] Maddox did. I loved doing it. It was crazy. It’s the weirdest feeling. We had Mad come in and I said, 'Somebody go get Mad' -- we were doing the camera test -- 'Go get Mad and tell him that there’s a man downstairs.' He loves the military. 'Say there’s a military man who’s met with mom once and he should come meet him again.'
Just like any 8-year-old he was kind of almost bored having to come meet this [guy] -- He said hi and he shook my hand. He was trying to be really polite but really was not interested. And then I said, “Hey, honey.” He said “Mom?” I said, "It’s ok." He’s like -- [makes wailing noise]. I had to take my hands off really quick because -- they were like gloves, the hands. And he sat and watched me peel the the whole thing off and laughed about it, but was definitely like, 'Don’t do that again.' "
Question: What was it like shooting the "Salt" scenes in Washington, D.C.?
Angelina Jolie: "It was great fun. We started the film here so -- there’s nothing like this city. It has such an energy and such a history ... Especially because of the theme of our film we were so, it, you know, really helped us to take it all in. It was such an extraordinary background.
The only difficult day, we had one day where I was running through the streets barefoot and we got a call from The White House to say you’ve got to release the traffic. It’s so different. In L.A., you can say “No, no, no, no,” but [in D.C.] we had to move."
Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer: "Yeah, they did not like losing their traffic patterns here. One day we really only were just -- I say only. If I were caught in a traffic jam, I'd be p***ed, too -- but, It was interesting in New York, we shut down Park Avenue for four days, entirely for one or two days and half the side for another two. We never got a single complaint. And here we, [after] about three or four hours into the first time we were disrupting the traffic patterns, the complaints were coming in from the highest of places in D.C. It was like, OK, I guess we’re not going to do that here."
Question: What is the best thing about fame?
Angelina Jolie: "Brad and I have the ability to take turns working. Very few parents have that luxury, that they can always have a parent at home And we can take months off together and travel with the chidren. It’s that. [Fame] allows us the luxury of adjusting our schedules. We can be really, really hands on with our children."
Question: Vanity Fair recently reported that you plan to give up acting. Is that accurate?
Angelina Jolie: Not that I would give it up, but I think I would do less of it at some point. It’s funny that -- obviosly things become a thing for no reason -- I really just said at some point I’ll do less. Which isn’t really...
Reporter interjects: ...and than it becomes 'Angelina Jolie is quitting acting."
Angelina Jolie: [Laughs]. "No, not at all. I have a few more stories I’d like to tell But I can imagine that I'll just do less and less as my kids grow up."
Question: What other stories do you want to tell?
Angelina Jolie: "Well, there’s been talk about Cleopatra. I haven’t done a historical epic of that nature and she’s always been fascinating to me because I feel like, as much of her story has been done big, it’s never been done accurately. Not that any movie can get history perfectly well. There is no universal truth to history in some films, but you can get closer and I feel there’s a lot that has been unexplord about her. But there's a lot that would have to come together for that to work.
Other people have asked me if I’d do a comedy, but I dont think I'm very funny. I'll leave that to the other ladies."
Question: How has Angelina Jolie evolved as an actor since you first worked with her on "The Bone Collector"?
Phillip Noyce, "Salt" director: When I met her 10 yrs before, she was already an accomplished actress about to go on to the part that would win her an Academy Award in "Girl Interrupted." She had already done Gia, which was an amazing performance. But she was relatively inexperienced, stil understanding the instrument that her acting ability was. When she came back, she had made so many movies compared to the number of movies I’ve made. If I was her teacher at the beginning I now realized very quickly that I had stuff to learn from this actress, particularly in the area of stunts, which she’d done so many of.
The major thing was at the beginning, she was fearless because she didn’t know any better. Ten years later, she knew everything but she was still fearless. Most people, when they get to the top, they become afraid. They become conservative in their choices because they're defending their position. Angelina was only emboldened by her experience and her position to be more adventuresome."
Question: The inevitable -- what was it like working with Angelina Jolie?
Liev Schreiber: In the beginning, I think I was very intimidated and kind of nervous. You know, I get uncomfortable around famous people and beautiful women, and she was kind of a double threat. But then we bonded v quickly over children. I would talk about my kids and she’d say, "Oh right, you guys do time-outs, too." ... We were very quickly able to develop a friendship based around that. Which is great, because all the sexual tension falls away and you kind of focus on the person as an actor abd a co-worker."
Chiwetel Ejiofor: "It's very instructive in terms of focus. There are times when we’re shooting exterior scenes and there’s a lot of stuff that's happening around her. A lot of paparazzi, a lot of people trying to get photographs, a lot of the public. And yet to watch her in this film, you would never even for a millisecond be aware that just beyond the camera is all this crazy activity. So it was very instructive, the idea of just the focus and being able to shut out a lot of the noise in order to do the job."
Question: How did you prepare for your role as a CIA agent?
Liev Schreiber: Fortunately, Naomi [Watts] was preparing to shoot "Fair Game" while I was preparing to shoot this. So there was a lot of CIA stuff in the house. But I got to meet Valerie Plame and talk to Valerie. ... What I got from Valerie was a real sense of patriotism. She is a real American patriot. She really is someone who believed that the right thing to do was to put her country first. And that’s why she was so hurt, I think is the right word -- devastated by what happened. Because she was somebody who did put her country first.
Question: Will there be a sequel to "Salt"?
Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer: "I think it’s a little disingenuous if we say we’ve never thought about it. We’ve thought about it. Really, the truth is, we try not to spend very much time thinking about it because that’s usually the way -- everytime I’ve been involved wiith something where we thought that far ahead, it's usually when we got smacked in the side of the head. Because the truth is, the audience is going to decide whether there’s another one or not. In the various developments of the script, there have been different endings that indicated more where this story was going to go. So there are ideas out there.
Angelina Jolie: "I think [Evelyn Salt] has depth and she can be so many people that the idea of what we could do with her and play -- there's a lot to play with as an actor."
| July 21, 2010; 1:10 PM ET
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