Biography – Chapter 2: The 1990s
In 1993, Angelina took on her first proper role in a film. She starred as Casella Reese in Cyborg 2. A film Angelina says was a “happy experience until she saw the final product.” In the same year Angelina took part in Angela & Viril and Alice & Viril, the two minute films directed by Steven Shainberg. Next was 1995′s Without Evidence in which Angelina played Jodie Swearingen in the film based on a true crime story. It is certainly not one of her best films, but it was her starting point of good things to come.
Her next big role would come in 1995′s Hackers. She played Kate “Acid Burn” Libby, a sexy computer whizz. It was also during this films production that Angelina met her future first husband, English actor Jonny Lee Miller. The pair fell madly in love and married when Angelina was just 21 years old. When Jolie wore Jonny Miller’s name in blood on her shirt teamed with black leather pants and black sandals during their wedding, her intentions were not to shock. Still owning the shirt today, Jolie is just very honest and thinks “it’s more strange when people spend $2m on a dress.”
It was around this time that Angelina started being extremely open with the media, telling tales of her fascination with knives and S&M sex. The press the world over has speculated about Jolie’s love and collection of knives over the years. But the reality is they are simply collector’s items, antique weapons that she has been collecting since she was 12 years old. “My mom bought me my first few, from antique stores or fairs. Some of them are from all over the world. It’s more about history and honour and fighting and strength and culture”, says Angelina. As for her love of S&M sex, a lot of the information released through the press, has either been misinterpreted or blown out of proportion. It was “mostly about trying to connect” with her lovers, says Jolie.
Film roles for Angelina starting coming in quickly now, she was now filing on average three films per year. After Hackers, Angelina’s next film role was in 1996 playing Eleanor Rigby in the quirky Mojave Moon, a film about a roadtrip, a romance, and a not-so-dead body. Also filmed in 1996 were Love Is All There Is in which Angelina plays the Italian pride Gina, and Foxfire, a favorite among the fans. In Foxfire Angelina plays Legs Sadovsky, a charismatic and mysterious tough girl who changes the lives of a group of teenage girls.
1997 was a big year for Angelina, both for her film career and her personal life. The first of her four films for the year was the TV movie, True Women, a historical romantic drama set in the West, based on the book by Janice Woods Windle. Next was Playing God, in which she starred opposite David Duchovny and rumoured lover Timothy Hutton. Another TV movie followed, called George Wallace. Angelina played the wife of the segregationist Governor of Alabama who was shot and paralysed while running for President, winning herself a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for her fine performance. The fourth film for the year was the highly popular and stunning performance in Gia. Angelina played the real life star Gia Marie Carangi, a rebellious lesbian supermodel from the seventies who had her life taken to AIDS at the tender age of 26.
It was while filming the award winning HBO Gia that Jolie’s private life fell apart. She initially refused the role of Gia Carangi four times because she thought the role felt too personal to her and the toll it would take on her mental state. “I didn’t think I could balance my life and my mind and my work. It happened that I became exposed at the same time that I was playing a role about somebody being exposed. I felt beaten down. I didn’t feel like a good person. I felt pretty bad”, Jolie has said. On a brighter side, Jolie’s fine performance earned her for the second consecutive year a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy. After the Golden Globes ceremony in true Angelina style, she jumped into a swimming-pool, still wearing her hand-beaded Randolph Duke gown.
Unfortunately Angelina’s marriage to Jonny Lee Miller fell apart and their pair sought a divorce. At the time of the break up, Angelina said “I don’t know how good a wife I was. And that’s the one thing that made it possible for me to be somewhat OK with us separating.” Upon reflecting, Angelina felt that Jonny “kept me centered and we had a beautiful, amazing marriage. But our lives went in different directions. I actually felt like I’d handled it better than my parents. We were so completely honest.” Today she has nothing but kind words for Jonny and to this day is still close friends with him.
After Gia wrapped up filming, Jolie decided to take a break from movies because she felt that she didn’t have anything else to give and enrolled in and briefly attended the New York University’s Film School where she studied film and took a writing class. Angelina also set tongues wagging in by confessing her bisexuality and that had had a relationship with the model turned actress, Jenny Shimizu, who she met on the set of Foxfire.
Once back to filming, her next role was as Gloria McNeary in 1998′s Hell’s Kitchen and the quirky Joan in Playing by Heart, an acclaimed film with a brilliant cast. Playing by Heart is still considered one of Angelina’s best performances. During the filming of 1999′s Pushing Tin, Angelina Jolie met her second husband to be, Billy Bob Thorton. At the time Billy Bob was engaged to Laura Dern but he quickly broke it off to be with Angelina. They married in May 2000 at the Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Minus a chaperone, Angelina wore a tight blue sleeveless jumper and battered old 501′s while carrying red and white roses. Thorton too, wore casual attire. The pair became infamous for their salacious quotes and honesty.
When trying out for her next lead role 1999′s The Bone Collector, Jolie was originally knocked back with ‘Angelina who?’ Eventually, to secure Jolie and her co-star Denzel Washington, a cap on the budget was made by the studio and were told that any additional costs were to come out of the crews own pockets. Jolie was the only person to put up a sum which came to one million dollars.
After finishing up on The Bone Collector, 1999 was to see one of Angelina’s best performances, one that won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. It is, of course, Girl, Interrupted in which she played the troubled Lisa Rowe. Girl, Interrupted was filmed in a mental hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where a section of the ward was closed down for the filming whilst the rest of the hospital carried on as normal. Jolie describes Lisa Rowe as “somebody who lives completely on impulse. She’s very angry at people for not being who they are – for living with masks on, in love with their own problems. She just wants to shake everybody.” And although Angelina is not normally a social person on movie sets and stayed in character for the duration of filming, she received nothing but praise for her performance and efforts. Fellow co-star Winona Ryder praises Jolie’s acting talents and states that “I know that Angie puts herself through a lot when she works.” While the Director, James Mangold, “felt like the luckiest boy on earth” after seeing Angelina audition for the role of Lisa and knew immediately that she was the one to play her.
Of course there was the infamous kiss with her brother, James Haven, at the Oscars. Angelina doesn’t understand what all of the fuss was about and does not regret it one bit. She says it was “a beautiful thing between a brother and a sister who care and support each other. It was a huge, emotional moment and we caught each other’s mouths… That’s it.”
Angelina doesn’t keep any industry awards she receives. Her brother has her Golden Globe and her mother keeps her Oscar. “I think it’s just good not to have them around to look at all the time”, says Jolie.