She’s an Oscar winner and an action star, a dedicated mom of six and a tireless goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. Plus, she’s got Brad Pitt by her side and on her arm.
Could life get any better for Angelina Jolie? The lush-lipped 35-year-old would like to think so, even while professing she doesn’t always understand all the fuss that’s made her one of the most-watched women in the world.
“I’d like to think I’ve become a better woman as I’ve gotten older,” Jolie told Matt Lauer in a sit-down interview for TODAY on the eve of the release of her new movie thriller “The Tourist,” which sees her starring alongside Johnny Depp for the first time.
While Jolie, Pitt and their brood of six are near-constant fodder for photographers as they travel the globe for movie projects and humanitarian work, Jolie still expresses some bewilderment as to why the world finds her and her family so fascinating.
“I don’t find myself that interesting in that way,” Jolie told Lauer during the interview that aired on TODAY Tuesday. “I have a full life. But, you know, I do the same thing every day in my natural life. I wear the same thing every day. I don’t go out.”
While admitting “it’s a weird time right now” with the unrelenting attention, Jolie laughed when Lauer asked her whether the very public Jolie could ever “put the genie back in the bottle” and retreat from the spotlight.Slideshow: Angelina Jolie (on this page)
“I don’t know,” she replied. “I mean, I just assume the older I get, the more it’ll go away; the more private I’ll become.”
Minding her manners
Though barely old enough to run for president, Jolie is a show business veteran. The daughter of Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight and the late actress Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie has been acting since age 18 and already boasts a resume of some 40 films.
Along the way, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2000 for “Girl, Interrupted” and a Best Actress nomination for 2009’s “The Changeling.” In addition, she has been called perhaps filmdom’s only bankable female action star, through her blockbuster Lara Croft films and other action films such as “Wanted” and “Salt.”
But she told Lauer that while her new film has its pulse-quickening moments, playing the prim and proper Elise Clifton-Ward in “The Tourist” was a bit of a stretch: she’s always considered herself a bit of a tomboy.Video: Jolie: ‘I’ve become a better woman’ (on this page)
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“I’m not completely clumsy or gross, but there’s something about this type of woman that didn’t come naturally to me,” Jolie said. “She takes her time with everything.”
Lauer asked Jolie whether reports she actually took classes in manners to prep for “The Tourist” are true.
“In a fashion, yes,” she replied. “There wasn’t somebody you could call and say, ‘Come over and give me a class.’ But in a fashion, there was a way of studying certain things, reading about certain things. But it all added up to the same thing, which is, ‘She needs to speak more elegantly. She needs to sit with more poise.’ ”
It comes as a bit of a surprise that Depp and Jolie, two of the highest-wattage stars Hollywood has, had never worked together before. In fact, Jolie told Lauer, the pair had never even met, though it did help that Pitt knows Depp. Pitt told her: “You’re gonna love him; he’s a great guy,” Jolie said.
Other side of the camera
But as enthused as she was about “The Tourist,” Jolie seemed just as excited talking about a yet-untitled film she shot this fall in Hungary. The film is a love story set against the backdrop of the Bosnian war, a film Jolie directed but did not act in.
She told Lauer of her first directing job, “I loved it, I loved it!” and added, “I much prefer being behind the camera.”
While in Hungary, Jolie had the on-hand support of Pitt and their kids — adopted children Maddox, 9, Pax, 7, and Zahara, 5, and their three biological children: Shiloh, 4, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 2. Jolie told Lauer she and Pitt revel in making their work-related trips around the world true family affairs.
“I know the value … that we have this time,” Jolie said. “That we have this life together that we get to explore and laugh and learn, and have that warm love.
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“That is, you know, what makes life worth living.”
Lauer asked Jolie what her children — among the most photographed and talked-about in the world — might one day say about the way they were raised.
“Hopefully they’re happy and they know that they were loved,” Jolie replied. “And that they were encouraged to be who they are and not pushed into something that they’re not.
“So, hopefully they’ll be the strong, beautiful individuals that they are today, and be happy in their lives; be fulfilled in their lives and be living their lives honestly.”
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