As Buzzine's Emmanuel Itier sat with Angelina Jolie to chat about her performance in the Robert De Niro-directed Cold War thriller, The Good Shepherd, talk turned to life away from the set , and the challenges of maintaining a 'normal' family life both at home in private, and away from home in the perpetual corosshairs of the world's media. In this sesond part of their interview, Buzine got a wide-ranging peek into Ms. Jolie's thoughts on travel, politics, work with The UN and ICC, plus His and Hers pilot's licenses, motherhood, Oscars and more... and even a little more about The Good Shepherd... (!)
Emmanuel Itier: How do like New York?
Angelina Jolie: I love New York. I grew up back and forth – from LA and New York, and I have an apartment. I love New York–especially at Christmastime. It reminds me of my mum, and we used to come here a lot and look at the tree, and look at the windows and walk around.
EI: How is she doing?
AJ: She´s doing good, thank you.
EI: How long have you been in New York?
AJ: We were in New Orleans for a week. Somebody saw our luggage the other day, which was a mess, and I had to explain to them that we´ve been living out of the same four suitcases for four months.
EI: You travel around so much–do you ever get travel sick or anything? Or suffer from jet lag?
AJ: We do suffer from jet lag–all the kids have a different jet lag, but we kind of just go with it. We kind of have… it´s 3:00 in the morning, everyone just get up. It´s hard, but no–I love to travel with the kids, and they´re great travelers, fortunately.
EI: Do you have to bribe them with chocolate to get up?
AJ: Sometimes. Or even just to keep them up, we give them a little something... But sometimes you can´t move them. They´re just that tired. But they´re pretty good. And I try to obsessively work on everyone´s sleep schedule. I´m one of those women who annoys everyone else in the family with the, “Okay, it´s 2:00–we have to go to sleep because at 4:00 we have to get up in order to go to… ” I´m that person! (Laughs)
EI: What´s been some of your best experiences of your travels lately?
AJ: In general, I´ve seen that this world is a big, beautiful place and there are a lot of amazing people and a lot of amazing cultures that we want to preserve, and a lot of amazing people fighting for their rights and for justice. And we want to all be aware of that and support that, and to check our foreign policy. And I´ve also met my children across the world–they´ve been the greatest things in my life. So I´ve become very much who I am with the help of other people and other places in the world.
EI: Your image has changed very much over the years – has that been a conscious decision?
AJ: I would assume we´ve all changed in the last ten years in some way or another. It´s just that the details of my change have always been noted, but I´m just growing up. In many ways, I´m very much the same person. In different times of my life, I was more lost without purpose, and in times of my life I´ve found that purpose as I´ve become more grounded by my children. But I feel very much the same person, but just in different situations in my life, and aware of different things.
EI: Can you imagine yourself being in politics?
AJ: I´ve got too many skeletons in my closet for politics! (laughs) I´ve not thought about that, but I´ve been conscious of the fact. Because I´m not a politician, I am able to do more in some ways: I´m able to talk to Democrats, Republicans, and get involved in all different kinds countries and throw my hands up and say, “I´m just a citizen. I´m just a human being.” So I have a lot more freedom with that, and I think I´d lose that if I took any kind of different role.
EI: People seem to be in awe of you all the time – even when you´re being interviewed on TV. When did you first notice that? That intimidating part of you is fairly new.
AJ: Really? I honestly wasn´t aware of it! (Laughs) I don´t think I´m that way.
EI: The world is fascinated by you.
AJ: I suppose we just think about it that the world gets fascinated with different people at different times, and they get fascinated with somebody else. We know they´re on us for this time, but we don´t really take that seriously. We just happen to have fallen into “that group” where we’re those two people, or we´re that family. There´s not much we can do about it, and if we´re too conscious of it, I think it would effect our lives too much.
EI: Do you like to fascinate others?
AJ: No, I just want to have a fascinating life, personally.
EI: But how can you guys have a normal life?
AJ: It depends on what you call a normal life. The things that we´re restricted by? We can´t just take our kids outside right now and go to Disneyland or run to the park. We have to be conscious of that and adjust a little. That´s how we don´t have a normal life. How we have a normal life? I wake up to the sounds of Brad trying to change two diapers at the same time–it´s great, and we´re a normal family. We´re a normal family, and I´m sure kids are the big part of keeping you normal. And we do travel a lot, and I think that keeps us from being stuck in the situation in this world – I only come out and do interviews a few days of the year, so does he, and the rest of the time we are learning about other countries. We´re traveling, we´re working, we´re having dinner with our kids…
EI: Are you going to work less?
AJ: I´ve worked very little–maybe two months in the last two years, and I´m fine with it.
EI: Do you call the UN stuff work?
AJ: No, I don´t call that work.
EI: Can you talk about the UN?
AJ: I believe the UN needs to be reformed, but I believe it´s important and it´s the closest thing we´ve got to some kind of balanced place. But I believe there´s a lot that needs to be fixed. I´ve been focusing more on the ICC – the International Criminal Court. I think there´s a lack of justice in the world of real justice, and not just from one country trying to police the world, but a real sense of international justice. That´s what I´ve been focusing on, but I´m very interested to hear on what the chief prosecutor of the ICC is going to say. They finally have evidence and they have a case, and this is the biggest step forward we´ve had in years. And for refugees, I´ve been working for them for five years now, and it is a true pleasure and they´re amazing people, and unfortunately they will always be refugees. Hopefully, through justice and through aid, we can start to stabilize their situations better and have less reason for them to run. I will continue to work on that.
EI: How do you compare this real job to your acting work?
AJ: It´s like your life–I´m sure you write about many different things, and sometimes you feel the story is really, really important and there was a reason why you were born to be a journalist, and sometimes you feel it´s just your job. And yet you enjoy both. I don´t shun the acting world; I don´t think less of it because it´s less important, and of course it is in many ways, but it´s facilitated my ability to do a lot of good in the world, and I´m also not against Hollywood. I´m not against entertainment. I just think we have to be responsible with the money we make, and when we have a celebrity, to be able to do some good things with that attention. But other than that, it´s my job.
EI: How do you entertain yourself?
AJ: I love to travel, obviously.
EI: So you´re not afraid of flying?
AJ: Well, I´m a pilot, so when I have time off, I fly. I had my private pilot´s license two years ago, and I just got my instrument rating six months ago.
EI: And Brad´s a pilot too now?
EI: Who´s better?
AJ: Well, I´ve been doing it longer, but he´s better at certain things. He´s better at doing the checks and the details and the weight and balance, and I´m better at the impulsive decisions.
EI: Have you ever been in hairy situations?
AJ: Yeah, we´ve been in some.
EI: Is that scary?
AJ: It is a bit, yeah. That´s why we practice a lot and we don´t intentionally try to put ourselves in dangerous situations. Because we both have kids, I´ve not taken off sometimes because the weather is not perfect or because it may not be the best flight. So we are both aware of the safety aspect. But we´ve flown together and we´re good together.
EI: What do you think about being married?
AJ: I´ve tried it twice before. I think it´s a lovely thing. We haven´t felt the need to do it. We´ve never really discussed it too much, because we don´t feel like there´s something missing. We did focus on legally being bound to the children together, and that was because I had a child first. Our first focus was how do we make sure that we are both legally these kids’ parents. Even marriage wouldn´t have done that with adopted children. You have to adopt them.
EI: You have a reputation for being wild in the past, but now you seem much more grounded – is it because you´ve found true love?
AJ: (Laughs) Don´t tell him! I think it is. I love him very much. I´m just exhausted from my family! (Laughs) I´m in a more peaceful place in my life. I think once you start to have more responsibility, that is more serious. When you´re 20, you get upset about the silliest of things. Now my kids are healthy and I´m not trying to do something that is maybe about somebody´s life situation – none of that is around me.
EI: Are the tattoos the last shred of the wildness?
AJ: I have loads more tattoos, yeah. This is new. I get one for each child, where I met all of my children. They are there for latitude and longitude.
EI: Do you think you´ll adopt more children, because I read that you were so horrified about what happened to Madonna, that that put you off?
AJ: I will adopt more. I think that´s press being silly. I would never say that.
EI: Was it a hard lesson to learn: That the press is silly?
AJ: Yes, and the press is trying to make the most negative thing possible out of it, and the boy is home. And we all have to hope that it is just beautiful. She knows very well that she adopted from a country where there wasn´t foreign adoption and that would be an unusual situation, so that´s different. I understand that situation–I don´t anticipate that being a problem if I adopt from a country where there´s legal adoption. So I don´t anticipate the same difficulties.
EI: Turning back to the Good Shepherd: Were you intimidated by Robert DeNiro as a director? Or, perhaps were you able to intimidate Robert DeNiro?!!
AJ: Nothing intimidates Robert DeNiro! I would joke that he is actually a spy with the CIA and has been for years. He´s not an actor at all! I was very intimidated, but also very comforted. There is something about working with a director who is also a great actor as well, and who cares as much as he does. He doesn´t like talking about the process, but when it comes to doing his work, he just does it exceptionally well, with so much dedication. So you´re nervous to be around him and to even attempt the character in front of him because he´s just this great character actor and you feel very silly. At the same time, to have him in your corner is very comforting. To know that he says if it´s going well, you can breathe!
EI: What was part of the attraction for you to play this role?
AJ: My focus was somebody who had so much life in the beginning and who was so dead inside in the end, and then curious about what the different steps were–the many different things that brought her to that.
EI: Can you imagine enduring such an awful relationship she had with her husband?
AJ: No, I would have been very similar to her. I would have just drank and been upset… well, if I was trapped. It´s not like she could just go and get a divorce. Could she get a divorce from a man in the CIA? He may have her killed and take her son.
EI: Do you think it´s more difficult for you to act because you have such a rich life?
AJ: I don´t think that´s true because I think the fuller your life is, the more of a well of resources you have to pull from. I think if somebody doesn´t have a child and they´re going to do a movie about losing a child, I don´t know what it is they´re pulling from inside themselves. Because I have a full life is why I can relate to certain kinds of loss, or certain kinds of love, or certain kinds of freedom and pain, because I´ve had very extreme emotions and very extreme things happen in my life–good and bad.
EI: Is it too much of a full life sometimes?
AJ: No, I´ve made my choices and I stand by the choices in my life. I think we all have to feel that way, and if there´s something about our life that we don´t like or that we´re not comfortable with, we would change.
EI: Do you have enough time for yourself?
AJ: I love being with my kids and I love traveling and I love working. I don´t really need that time by myself. That is my time for me.
EI: How would you describe the experience of giving birth?
AJ: Well, I had a C-section so they´re quick! I think both Brad and my responses were it was just strange. It´s one of the most remarkable things to witness. Life. That first breath of a child. At the same time, she isn´t any more special to me than the day I met Zahara, the day I met Madd… and I actually thought it would be and I was a little nervous, that a natural born might do something. But it really doesn´t.
EI: You were talking about changes before – how do you see yourself right now?
AJ: Trying to look to the future and balancing my family so we can have a bigger and bigger family. We talk a lot about who´s going to work and when we´re going to work and when we have time together, so just making sure that we don´t miss this time in our life with our kids. And that we don´t miss the opportunity to live very fully and to do all the things we want to do. So I´m just trying to make sure that I´m taking the time to slow down and enjoy and do all the things thoroughly that I need to do.
EI: I´m sure you don´t suffer from problems other normal women have: waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror and hating themselves because you´re busy with more important things in life?
AJ: I’m certainly not somebody who wakes up in the morning and doesn´t recognize that I have a very fortunate life. My children are healthy, I have love in my life, and I am able to do what I love for a living and I have purpose. I can´t ask for anything more, except to not be sick and to have a long life and to not have anything happen to my children. I don´t wake up and think, “Oh God, I wish I had more,” because I would think myself a terrible person for not appreciating what I do have.
EI: I was thinking along the lines of, "Oh my God, I have a split hair,” or, “My nail broke.” Those stupid little problems that magazines live off.
AJ: Yeah, I don´t, fortunately.
EI: Do you see any Oscars coming for this movie?
AJ: I learned, a long time ago, not to count your work by your awards, and even the ones I got awards for–I didn´t work any harder on those than the ones I didn´t.
EI: Where do you keep your Oscar?
AJ: I haven´t seen it since the moment I won it. I gave it to my mum and then she moved, so I think it´s in a box somewhere. But it meant a lot to give it to her.
EI: What´s a perfect day for you?
AJ: I love landing in a new country. We recently took Madd to Cambodia, and it was the first trip there where he really understood Cambodia . And we took him to a restaurant in the middle of the night, and he had his first plate of crickets.
EI: Do you eat them too?
AJ: Yeah, but it was fun to see if he would have one, but he went for the plate. He made us all proud! That, and riding around the city with all the kids and just being in the night… a new place and watching the kids enjoy different cultures and just being together.
Universal Pictures' 'The Good Shepherd' opens in theaters nationwide on December 22, 2006.