If you haven’t already, listen to the Angelina Jolie interview on Scott Feinberg’s Awards Chatter podcast that was just posted yesterday. It’s almost an hour of her talking through her career, sounding more relaxed and casual than she does when we see her on panels and on stage. There is something about a podcast setting that lends itself to intimacy. And, of course, in general with podcasts, there’s a built-in expectation about the length. Or, rather, no expectation. You’re not bumping up against a commercial break. You can, if you want to, make it as long as you want. So here we have Angelina Jolie, for an extended period of time, answering questions about her youth, her memories of her mother, her complicated relationship with her father, and touching on all her romances – with Jonny Lee Miller, Billy Bob Thornton, and of course Brad Pitt.
Angelina is warm but not obsequious, articulate and informed, but not pedantic, and yes, she’s about as candid as she can be, giving up juuuuuust enough of the gossip that we’re looking for, but not so much that they can turn it into a blaring headline like, ANGELINA RECALLS WILD SEX WITH BILLY BOB! When Brad Pitt comes up in conversation, and he does several times, in relation to her work, there’s no awkwardness, no bitterness, no reluctance. Not even when they’re talking about By The Sea and what that film means now that they’re no longer together. She acknowledges that, now especially, it may not have been a good idea but also explains what the motivation was at the time, and the takeaway she can still find in the effort:
“A piece of art can be something that's healing or something that's difficult. I don't know. I'm glad we did that film because we did explore something together. Whatever it was maybe it didn't solve certain things, but we did communicate something that needed to be communicated to each other."
There’s nothing new that’s revealed there, she’s too smart for that. But it’s not a total non-answer either, not when you can hear her say the words “maybe it didn’t solve certain things” with what I heard to be a sense of closure to her voice. Of course Angelina is an actor, she knows better than most how to convince you with her tone and her delivery. But on my listen, to me it sounded like she’d moved past the hurt and she’s at the point of reflection now. Which is probably not good news for anyone hoping there might be a reconciliation. She seems, in this interview, convincingly at peace with what’s happened.
Beyond the romantic gossip though, what hooked me about this interview was the work gossip. It was straight up porn when she was talking about directing In The Land Of Blood And Honey and the decision to shoot it in two languages after being challenged by producers that she could do whatever she wanted, they didn’t care, as long as she came in budget every single day. She also reveals her directing “tell” – the signature move that all directors have that’s specific to them and that shows up in all their work. And, where acting is concerned, she reveals how she chooses her roles and when. For example, when she needs to feel strong, when she’s been down, when she’s coming out of a low, she goes for the action. Lara Croft, Wanted, and Salt all came at times when she, as Scott Feinberg put it, had to “kick some ass”. And, interestingly enough, she’s looking for exactly that kind of kick ass project right now. I’m sure the timing of that isn’t lost on you.
As you know, as we’ve seen over the last couple of months, Angelina is campaigning. The goal here is an Oscar nomination for First They Killed My Father in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The Hollywood Reporter is a trade. It’s become required reading for the current generation of online gossips, for sure, but the publication also directly targets Hollywood itself. Studio power players, industry insiders, big agents, retired strategists, actors and directors, people at all levels of production are consuming THR. At least some of them will be listening to this interview. It’s probably the strongest interview she’s done this year.
Click here to listen.
Yours in gossip,