Joined: 19 Nov 2003
|Posted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:23 pm Post subject: Angelina Jolie plays another
|By Iain Blair, ENS
WHEN we first meet Angelina Jolie in her new film, the serial killer-thriller Taking Lives, she’s lying in an open grave. As top FBI profiler and Special Agent Illeana Scott, the actress doesn’t rely on traditional methods to solve her cases, and here she shares the final resting spot of the latest victim in a series of grisly Montreal murders as a way of getting inside the killer’s mind.
Macabre and unorthodox as this technique looks, it gets results for Scott who is soon hot on the trail of the brutal killer. Likewise, the character also seems like the perfect fit for Jolie who over the past few years has firmly established herself as a free spirit, on and off screen. As Lara Croft, Jolie played the ultimate female action heroine, a woman who knows and speaks her mind, and who doesn’t tolerate fools kindly.
Independent and confident, she certainly doesn’t need a man to rescue her. Playing a self-assured FBI agent who quickly butts heads with the all-male Montreal police department, which includes Tcheky Karyo as a Surete director and Olivier Martinez as a lead detective, was another “really big challenge, and just as exciting,” notes Jolie.
“For a start, Illeana’s an interesting, unusual character. She’s pretty complex and that’s a credit to the writers and the director, D. J. Caruso, for letting all of us really explore the characters and make them as deep as we could. Usually in these types of films they rely on just the thrills and the plot and don’t get too deep into the characters, so it was a nice surprise that we really got to explore motivation and character. I could really get into the part.”
So how much of Jolie is in Special Agent Scott?
“I suppose there’s a lot in the way she observes life around her and the way she sometimes feels shut off from people because of work and what’s going on in her head-and the way she kind of takes work too seriously,” the actress says, laughing. “I guess I’ve got more of her problems than her positive aspects.”
Did Jolie do a lot of research to make her portrayal as authentic as possible? “I did,” she reports. “I met a lot of profilers and spent time with one specific expert, Dr. Christine Kokonos, who showed me her working methods. She went through all these real murder cases and showed me slides of the crime scenes. And then she showed them backwards, so you could analyze what had happened.
“She’d say, What kind of guy are we looking for? What kind of guy do you think would have done this?” So I got a crash course in some pretty heavy, horrible cases and the sort of crime that’s out there in the world, and the kinds of terrible things people do to each other. And it’s pretty horrendous. Really disgusting.
“A lot of it was really, really hard to take,” Jolie continues. “You’d see photos of this really great, simple little family-it looked so perfect, like the cover of a postcard, and then you’d find out that the man cut off women’s feet and kept them in the freezer. And you can’t even understand where that comes from in a person’s mind. So all that does get you thinking. Are we all very different in our minds? Some people faint at the sight of blood, others don’t. And it’s shocking how ordinary a lot of these serial killers look.”
Ethan Hawke co-stars as James Costa, a key witness in the case, who gradually becomes romantically involved with Jolie’s character. Working with Hawke was, “such a great experience,” reports Jolie. “I just think he’s one of the best actors we have, and he’s such a lovely, lovely man. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s great to everyone on set, he’s funny, and he’s very sharing as an actor. He was also at a bit of a disadvantage as Illeana is more like the leading man role while his part is more like the female role.”
But Hawke got to make up for that with a very hot sex scene with Jolie. “It was funny doing it with him because we’re such good friends,” she says. “The first few times he backed me against the wall, we just burst out laughing. And when it’s a friend it makes it more comfortable to do sex scenes. It can be more awkward. It depends. I think we’d both done a lot of sex scenes in our careers and we were comfortable with the director, and it actually wasn’t as over the top as some sex scenes are. It’s sensual and interesting but it’s not overdone, and I think sometimes sex scenes go over the top where you feel you’re totally naked together.”
Jolie is virtually the only female in the cast. Does she like being the only woman or does it get lonely? “You know, I do tend to do that a lot in my films,” she admits. “And no, I don’t get lonely. I don’t really feel like a girl a lot of the time. We all just became great mates and very good friends, and we all spent time together, so it never became a man-woman thing. It was a great set.”