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Movie gives Jolie new outlook on marriage

"Mr. and Mrs. Smith" star talks with the "Today" show's Ann Curry about what she learned from her latest film.
/ Source: TODAY

In “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” actress Angelina Jolie plays an assassin married to another assassin. Before the premiere of the movie, Jolie, who likes to be called Angie, sat down with the “Today” show’s Ann Curry and talked about the film and how it changed her ideas about marriage.

Ann Curry: I want to know about this stunt in which it appears that you jump out of a 40-story window wearing a dominatrix outfit.

Angelina Jolie: Of course. So I happened to get this stunt that suited me.  But, yeah, I was a little unsure about something the first time I went down and my coat flew off and I thought, “Oh, I have no pants on. I have no pants on and there's just a crowd of people on the floor.”

Curry: Do you mean no underpants on or no pants on?

Jolie: Yeah. Everything is rubber. So it's just not…

Curry: Oh!

Jolie: You don't feel like you're covered. Everything just doesn't feel right.

Jolie's character, Jane Smith, discovers her husband, John, played by Brad Pitt, is also secretly an assassin, and working for another agency. When they are assigned to kill each other, their marriage turns deadly.

Curry:  There seems to be this deliberate attempt on your part to not be …

Jolie: The girl?

Curry: Yeah. The skirt.

Jolie: Yes.  You know, I guess because I've done so many action movies, I consider girls to be pretty damn tough.

Curry:  You don't defer to Brad in the violent scenes.

Jolie: We were very competitive. And we both said, “Well, if she gets to slide across the floor, then I want to break a window."  And I said, “Well, if he gets to throw me across the table, then I better smash him into the … . [Laughs] Yeah, so it builds.

She says the action scenes were actually more of a problem for Pitt.

Jolie: He was uncomfortable about it.  You know, the idea that he's going to hit a woman.  And for any man, how do you get past that? It's not a comic book movie.  I'm not a villain.  It's like we're also husband and wife and now we're going to beat each other up.  And domestic violence being what it is, how do you make it an action movie and entertainment, when that is something that should never be entertainment or funny in any way?

Curry: Is there too much violence in this movie?  Do you worry there is too much violence in the complete film?

Jolie: You know, I don't think so. But we went all out for it.  We wanted it to be that.  We wanted, you know, every time a husband and wife says to each other, I could just kill you — we thought, what if they really could?  What would it look like if everybody just went at it?  We think this is what it would look like.

Jolie felt right at home with the guns and things blowing up around her. But she was scared by something else.

Curry: You were expressing some fear, trepidation about doing comedy.

Jolie: Yeah.

Curry: What does that say about Angelina?

Jolie: I don't know.  I mean, for a long time, I was always much more comfortable in darker roles, in pain or as a quieter person, and it takes a lot for me to feel that I have something to contribute in a light way. But I wouldn't assume, yeah, I'm that fun friend that everybody feels at ease with, you know?  And I would love to think I had more of that, but …

Curry: Is that something you want to be more of?

Jolie: Well, I think, having a kid, you know what I mean — he's certainly made me funny.  I guess he fixed that for me.

But comedy and action aside, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is really a movie about marriage — how what begins with passion can end up stale when partners don't understand each other.

Curry: How much did you draw on your own life to do this film?

Jolie: I think for everybody, especially for every woman, we've had a moment where you're lying in bed and you're thinking about the person next to you, and you think, "You have no idea who I am.”

Jolie says both her own husbands were wonderful men.  Still, she says, she could personally identify with what Jane Smith was going through.

Jolie: There was something missing ... that we didn't have the same value for how we wanted to live our lives, what we wanted to do with our lives — if we wanted to be of use to others, in what ways.  We didn't have the same goals.  And that, at the end of the day, as much as you can have fun with them, you can have great sex with somebody, you can have all that stuff, [but] if you don't wake up with a common purpose and a dream to live a similar legacy, then it's not going to work.  It didn't for me.

So, this film also came at a time where I've been analyzing what that is.  And I know now what it would need to be in order to be married again.

Curry: So, it did teach you something.

Jolie: Yeah, yeah.

Curry: Something maybe changed a little bit of what may be possible in that area for you.

Jolie: Yeah, and it certainly made me think what a nice thing it would be to have a teammate.