Biography – Chapter 3: The 2000s
Her next project was Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) with co-star Giovanni Ribisi commenting Angie, “The media promotes Angelina as an eccentric, like everything she’s into is taboo and scary, but she is a hyperintelligent actress and a totally honest woman who doesn’t happen to agree with middle-class status quo crap.” Straight from the 60 Seconds set, she was off to film 2001′s sexy Original Sin opposite Antonio Banderas. She played a mail order bride who turns out to be dominating, manipulative and thoroughly untrustworthy.
The world wide hit, Tomb Raider (2001) was her next film role. To fill this role, Angelina had to master upper-class manners, kick-boxing, street-fighting, yoga, ballet, car racing, dog-sledding and a British accent. 2002′s Life or Something Like It followed in between the next installment of the Tomb Raider movies, 2003′s Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.
Always wanting to adopt a child but fearing she would not make a suitable parent, Jolie adopted her first child in 2001, a son, Maddox Chivan Jolie from Cambodia. Maddox, whom Angelina calls Mad, was born as Rath Vibol and was three months old at the time. Angelina and Billy Bob fell for the child and filed paperwork to begin the long adoption process. Months after Angelina was finally allowed to bring the todler home in June 2002.
Unfortunately Angelina’s relationship with Billy Bob Thornton was also falling apart during the time. Eleven days after Maddox arrived to the US, Thornton moved out of the couple’s Los Angeles home. Jolie quickly filed for divorce. “I am a scared person. I walked away. It’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever done. I fell in love the hardest I have ever fallen, and that was a scary thing. Nothing was her fault, absolutely nothing, it was all down to me. I was afraid she would see how scared I was and realise I was not the man she thought I could be”, commented Thornton later on. Angelina and Billy Bob did not speak for nearly two years but they eventually made ameds and are close friends today.
On August 27, 2001 Angelina Jolie was announced as Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR in Geneva. Angelina has traveled to over 30 different countries in her bid to her assist refugees.
Though she is “no bunny hugger”, she has donated $5 million to start a Cambodian Wildlife Preserve and donated funds to rebuild a hospital in Sri Lanka. Her philosophy towards her earnings, “If you make $10 million, you can give away $5 million and not miss it.”
After deciding that she needed a break from the US, Angelina and Maddox packed their bags and bought a house in Buckinghamshire, near the Pinewood Studios where she filmed the Lara Croft films. They also own a house in Cambodia. Angelina feels strongly about her son having connection to his native land.
More often than not, Angelina is photographed by the paparazzi or questioned about her private life. She says “I try to ignore it, but there are some things you read that you don’t like. Something that hurts me is fine; something that hurts someone through me is hard to deal with.” But even with her celebrity status, the people closest to her, her friends and family, still treat Jolie the same as ever. In the past when voted as the one of America’s most beautiful people, ” I got so much shit for that ‘most beautiful’ thing. They’d see me first thing in the morning and go, ‘Ooh, look at that. Is that what the world’s most beautiful people look like?’” Jolie laughs.
After long delays due to the sacking of Kevin Costner, 2003′s Beyond Borders was filmed in which Angie starred as Sarah Jordan. Angelina considers this project one of the most dear to her. The film followed by Taking Lives where she played opposite Ethan Hawke. Angelina’s next project came in the form as a voice for a fish called Lola in the CGI animated Shark Tale where she worked along side Will Smith and Jack Black.
Angelina next had a bit part in The Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, in which she played Franky. The wild Franky and Angelina have more than one thing in common, both being trained pilots and considering flying a passion. Next was the not so successful epic Alexander in which Angelina portrayed Olympias. She played the mother to Colin Farrell’s Alexander and was rumoured to having affairs with both Farrell and the film’s director, Oliver Stone.
Disappointment was soon forgotten when the 2005 summer hit Mr. and Mrs. Smith was released. The rumour mill went into over drive that Angelina and Brad were now an item. Both Angelina and Brad kept a safe distance from each other during the premieres and promotional events, but were photographed by the paparazzi spending a lot of time together.
While it was never officially announced by either party, Angelina and Brad has been a couple since 2005.
Angelina adopted her second child in July 2005. Zahara Marley Jolie was born 8th January 2005 in Ethiopia and was adopted from a mother that was too poor to care for her child. Zahara is said to make Maddox very happy and that he is proud that his continent is the largest of his family members.
Angelina was also honored as an official citizen of Cambodia by the King for her on-going efforts to help the environment there.
In January 2006, Brad Pitt was granted permission to legally adopt Angelina’s children, Maddox and Zahara making their surnames Jolie-Pitt. Also in January, it was announced that Angelina was carrying Brad Pitt’s baby and on May 27th, Angelina gave birth via a c-section to Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Also, Angelina and Brad established the Jolie-Pitt Foundation in September 2006.
Despite being busy with her family, Angelina worked on a number of juicy roles in 2006. Firstly, she had a supporting role as Margaret ‘Clover’ Russell, the neglected wife of a CIA officer, in the Robert De Niro directed The Good Shepherd (2006).
Next, Angelina Jolie was personally chosen by journalist Mariane Pearl to portray her in the documentary-style drama A Mighty Heart (2007). Produced by Brad Pitt (among others), the project would become very dear to Angelina’s heart. A Mighty Heart covers the 2002 kidnapping and murder by terrorists in Pakistan of Pearl’s late husband Daniel Pearl, an American journalist for the Wall Street Journal.
Although Mariane Pearl had chosen Angelina for the part, the casting of a white actress in the role drew criticism and accusations of blackface. In response to the criticism, Pearl said: “I asked her to play the role — even though she is way more beautiful than I am — because I felt a real kinship to her. She put her whole heart into it, and I think she understood why we should do this movie. We had something to say that we knew we should say together.” Angelina’s performance was received very warmly by the critics: she received nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress, among others. Perhaps more importantly, in Mariane Pearl Angelina found a dear friend.
Angelina wanted to do something fun after the incredible challenging A Mighty Heart. In the epic Beowulf (2007) she played Grendel’s Mother, created through motion capture. “She’s evil, she’s temptation and she’s very fun to play and again we had a great time and I got to work with great actors”, Angelina said. The film was well received both critically and commercially.
In April 2007, Angelina Jolie premiered her directorial debut, the documentary A Place in Time, at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival. The film was shot in 2005. It takes a look at the daily lives of people in more than two dozen countries around the world during the course of a week. “Because not everyone gets the chance to see how other people in other nations live”, Angelina said. “TV doesn’t really show that, because it won’t get high ratings… And the news is about very, very short segments, usually focusing on a trouble spot. Many of the people I’m interested in live in troubled areas, but the major trouble for most people in the world — and most of the world is the developing world — is poverty. Getting enough to eat… And so many other daily problems, things that we (in the modern world) take for granted.”
Tragically, Angelina Jolie lost her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, after an eight-year battle with ovarian cancer, on January 27, 2007. “My mother was a full-time mother. She didn’t have much of her own career, her own life, her own experiences. Everything was for her children”, Angelina said later. “I will never be as good a mother as she was. I will try my best, but I don’t think I ever will be. She was the most generous, loving woman. She’s better than me.”
On March 15, 2007, Angelina adopted a son, three-year-old Pax Thien, from an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She adopted Pax as a single parent because Vietnam’s adoption regulations do not allow unmarried couples to co-adopt. Brad Pitt subsequently adopted Pax on February 21, 2008.
By 2008, Jolie was considered the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. She starred alongside James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman in the action film Wanted, which proved to be another massive success. Angelina plays Fox, an accomplished member of the Fraternity who mentors Wesley (McAvoy). She also had plenty of fun working with Jack Black, among others, whilst voicing Tigress in Kung Fu Panda. The animation was followed by a TV short Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010), a sequel Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), a video short Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (2011) and, most recently, a third instalment Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016). It has been confirmed that Kung Fu Panda 4 will be going into production soon!
Also in 2008, Angelina played one of her most challenging roles to date in Clint Eastwood’s Changeling (2008). Based in part on the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, the drama centers on Christine Collins (Jolie), who is reunited with her kidnapped son in 1920s Los Angeles – only to realize the boy is an imposter. “She’s been on the cover of so many magazines in recent years and she is hampered by having one of the most beautiful faces around, so sometimes people tend to overlook that she is a really fine actress and a terrific talent”, Clint Eastwood said of Angelina. “I’ve worked with some really good actresses in my career and I don’t think any of them ever came any more prepared than she did.”
Indeed, Angelina was heavily invested in the role. “I was so relieved to step away from this movie. I would have my kids there at lunch, and at the end of the day, I was so happy I knew where they were, that they were safe. I wanted to just play all the time. During the filming I got pregnant, so by the end of it, I was 100% focused on babies. When it started, I wanted to get pregnant. I think it was the high emotion and thinking about children that led to that becoming a real priority for me.” Angelina Jolie received nominations for a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA Award, and an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, which went to Kate Winslet for The Reader.
As mentioned, Angelina got pregnant during the filming of Changeling. At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008, Jolie confirmed that she was expecting twins. On July 12, 2008, the Jolie-Pitt family welcomed Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline into the world. Jolie said: “Wanting a big family is one of the things that brought Brad and I together.” Pitt added: “When Ange and I were told we were having twins we burst into hysterics… We didn’t see this one coming.”
Following her mother’s death and the expansion of the Jolie-Pitt family, Angelina Jolie begun appearing in fewer films. “I became an actress because my mom wanted me to become an actress,” Jolie told USA Today in 2014. “It took me until my mid-30s to realize I actually didn’t. I actually wanted to write and direct and be more involved in politics and humanitarian issues. I’ll do a few more films and enjoy it and if I’m blessed to have a good career, but I’ve never loved it like I love other things.”