There’s no denying that Angelina Jolie (born June 4, 1975) has had an extraordinary life. Jolie was raised in both Los Angeles and New York, and for starters, here is a quick summary of what she has experienced so far: dropping out of the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute after two years to become a funeral director; becoming a model at age 14 and traveling the world; had a wild teenage phase where she experimented with knife play, hardcore partying, and bad boy boyfriends; suffered suicidal depression especially while attending Beverly Hills High School where she was ridiculed, teased, and ostracized for being the skinny, ugly girl with braces; has admitted to trying “just about every drug possible” before the age of 20 (including heroin); married and divorced twice to actors Johnny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thorton; has been vocal about her bisexuality and relationship with Jenny Shimizu; skyrocketed to Hollywood AAA superstardom and is currently ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid actress in Hollywood; married the most famous man on Earth; adopted three children and gave birth to another three; has won an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards; was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001 and has busted her ass for human rights worldwide ever since (i.e. her work in Darfur in 2004, Sudan and Chad in 2007, Iraq in 2007 and 2009, and Afghanistan from 2007 to today); has been an invited keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2005 and 2009; has spoken before Congress more than 20 times and pushed several bills to help troubled refugees in devastated areas around the world including the United States; has been a member of the Council On Foreign Relations since 2007; she was the first recipient in 2003 of the Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association, and in 2005, she was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award by the UNA-USA; and she has donated tens of millions of dollars to her causes around the world. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just the summary.
The most amazing thing of all is that Jolie is just getting started. In the September issue of VANITY FAIR, Jolie sits down with Contributing Editor, Rich Cohen, for an expansive profile of where she is in her life today, especially with her latest passion project — her directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey. She explains to Cohen how the idea came to her while she was deathly ill with the flu a couple years ago while she was with her family in France. It was so horrendous she had to be quarantined in the attic. While she was up there she didn’t watch television and she didn’t read. She simply paced the floors. The following is an excerpt from the VANITY FAIR piece:
“I had the flu,” Jolie says of how she came to write the script. “I had to be quarantined from the children for two days. I was in the attic of a house in France. I was isolated, pacing. I don’t watch TV and I wasn’t reading anything. So I started writing. I went from the beginning to the end. I didn’t know any other way.” She says she then let Brad take the script to read on a trip: “He called and said, ‘You know, honey, it’s not that bad.’” Jolie admits she did not initially intend to direct the film. “It was something I didn’t trust out of my hands,” she explains. “So by default I ended up putting myself in as director.” Of her decision to use all unknown actors from the region, she says, “It couldn’t be anybody else. It’s their story. It was important that they were willing to do it. If none of them were willing, I wouldn’t have made it.” Jolie does elaborate on Brad’s supportive role throughout the project. “He’d come in and say what he liked or what he didn’t understand. Like any woman, I would listen to most of it and fight a few things. He’s been so supportive. But it’s hard to separate the person that loves you from the critic, so I don’t think he’s a fair judge.” But she goes on to say that “people will judge for themselves. I think if you make a good movie people walk away arguing.”
You can read the full preview of the September issue by visiting VANITY FAIR. The issue hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on September 1st, and nationally and on the iPad September 6th. I’ve also attached this morning’s TODAY Show sit-down with VANITY FAIR’s Rich Cohen who spoke about the feature. In The Land Of Blood And Honey is scheduled to be released by FilmDistrict in North America on December 23rd. The film is set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War in the 1990s and illustrates the consequences of the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict.
Truly an amazing human being and an incredible role model for lazy poops like me. Can’t wait to read this.