Angelina Jolie Unbound
By Chris Connelly
Michael Winterbottom directed A Mighty Heart in India, with an eye to documentary-style realism: The actors were compelled to know all the personal details of their real-life characters. To Jolie's mind, the intensity of that preparation paid off, particularly in the scene where Daniel's murder is revealed. "Maybe it was just the reality that that had happened to a decent man," she says, "but I looked around, and all of them had tears in their eyes. You know, genuinely. It wasn't like a movie set. It felt like we were all remembering a part of something that happened in our lives that we would all be sick about forever."
Jolie refers to the task of playing someone who's become a friend as "terrifying." "Talking about it, sitting around discussing how to do it" -- with Mariane, and with Brad Pitt, whose company, Plan B, coproduced the movie -- "was fine," she says. "Then going to work and actually wanting to do it -- for Danny and for her and for Danny's parents -- was just pressure I did not want. The night before the first day of shooting I had, like, a breakdown. And her accent is so hard! She's a bit of a chameleon because she speaks different languages. I'm sure she'll find it very funny, but hopefully I did my best. My work has always been a great way for me to deal with the things in my life. Focusing on that story on a daily basis, you certainly don't worry about your life. I mean, there isn't a better film to make you hyperaware that you should complain about nothing." Amid A Mighty Heart's contemporary-thriller aspects, Jolie hopes for the movie to breathe with the romance that transformed Daniel and Mariane. "They had a deep, deep love," she says, "an amazing partnership as people and journalists...I think that the way she handled the situation was exactly as Danny would have wished. If he had seen it, it would have made him very proud."