Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie, who turned 30 over the weekend, sat down for an exclusive interview with the “Today” show’s Ann Curry to talk about her new movie, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” her humanitarian work, and more. But first she responded to questions that a perhaps overly curious public has about her relationship with recent co-star Brad Pitt.
They are two of America's most beautiful people, as pretty much anyone who has seen one of their movie billboards or magazine covers or caught sight of them in person can confirm. So when Jolie and Pitt were cast opposite one another in the action comedy "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," people started asking, would these two superstars be as attracted to one another as America is to them?
Ann Curry: The chemistry between the two of you — acting or natural?
Angelina Jolie: Natural.
Curry: Why do you think you worked together so well? Because I'm telling you, I'm watching the movie, it just seems you're comfortable with each other in your roles.
Jolie: We did work together surprisingly well, more than I thought we would, because I didn't know before we met if we would actually work together really well, and we had a great time.
They play married assassins, Jane and John Smith — unwittingly assigned to kill each other.
It was during the intense shooting of this film that the tabloid attack began. Jolie and Pitt, who was at the time still married to Jennifer Aniston, had to constantly deny rumors that they were intimate.
Curry: You have said, "To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not look at myself in the morning, if I did that."
Jolie: Yeah, that's right.
Curry: That says a lot.
Jolie: Yeah, well, I wouldn't be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife.
Still, reports branded Jolie as "the other woman" when Pitt and Aniston separated in January, and then filed for divorce in March. Jolie has repeatedly denied playing a role in the downfall of the marriage.
Curry: Have you been hurt?
Jolie: No, it takes a lot to hurt me.
Curry: Are you being just a tough girl?
Jolie: No, no, no, I've just grown up too much to be hurt by what people's opinion of my love life is. That doesn't hurt me. You know, attack my child, that hurts me. You know, it doesn't hurt me. It is what it is. I'm more annoyed when, because of all of it, I try to take my son on a carousel yesterday, and we've got too many people flashing pictures for him to have a good time. That bothers me. But you know, I don’t read the gossip. But it is never nice to be caught up in a whirlwind of a bunch of stuff and the world feeling they have an opinion about your life and your family.
But with a Pitt-Anniston divorce in the works, the tabloids have turned to asking, "Are Angelina and Brad a couple now?"
Curry: Why not just say it now and not let anybody keep talking about it?
Jolie: I've never intentionally hurt…
Curry: Why not just say what's going on, so nobody keeps putting a camera in your face?
Jolie: It's not about that. And you and I both know that I could make a thousand statements right now, and it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter.
Curry: People will still…
Jolie: They will. People will say what they want to say, and it's okay. And my life will go on, and I need to focus on my life. So, do I need to defend that I’m a decent woman? I sure hope I don't. I know I am.
Curry: I admire you for saying it's nobody's business when you could so easily just make the paparazzi go away.
Jolie: No, you can't.
Curry: You just don't think you can. Do they scare you, the paparazzi?
Jolie: Do they scare me?
Curry: They hunt you.
Jolie: You know, I've spent the last month in Pakistan and Sierra Leone in places they should be focusing on taking pictures. They're nowhere. You know, I've just come back to New York. I've been gone a month. And so now they're going to get me on a carousel.
Curry: Well, what about this picture for which a paparazzi photographer got half a million dollars. A long lens pictures of you in Africa with Brad. I mean, this is insane. I would say it's inane. What do you say it is?
Jolie: You know, you bought it. You're holding it.
Curry: I didn't buy it.
Jolie: But I mean the fact is, it's part of your program. It's something that we're talking about. Still. That’s probably why he got half a million dollars. That day needs to forever be a day that I made a sand castle with my son. And that's what that will always be.
Curry: What do you want to say to Americans on what we should be thinking about?
Jolie: I don’t have the answer for what anyone should be focusing on. I make it a point not to buy certain magazines, not because I am against tabloids or things like that, but I want to fill my mind with valid issues in the world. I'd like there to be less refugees. I'd like all girls to go to school. That's what we need to be thinking about, and working on making our own families good and strong and our own kids happy. Not to cloud our minds with things that don’t matter.
Tomorrow, in part two of our interview, Jolie talks about what she learned about herself while making "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." She also shares a shocker about a scene in which her character leaps from a 40-story window in a dominatrix outfit.