Charlie Rose: this is Charlie Rose.
Rose: Angelina Jolie is here since winning an Oscar for her performance in “Girl, Interrupted.” She’s managed to maintain her status as one of Hollywood’s best young actors with the popular “Tomb Raider” films. She’s also traveled the world as one of the United Nations’ most recognizable goodwill ambassadors. Her interest in refugee work came after the script for her latest movie, “Beyond Borders.” Here’s a look at the trailer for the film.
Jolie: How did I get here out of the godforsaken country? Wanting to find you again. The truth is, I never really knew how it would end. The only thing I am sure of is how it began. (MUSIC) (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
Unidentified Male: Perfume. You’re wearing perfume in the middle of the desert (ph). (MUSIC) (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Oh, we usually find a way. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) You’re not wearing perfume.
Jolie: Are you going to tell me where we’re going?
Unidentified Male: A place near the border. What’s the problem? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) (UNINTELLIGIBLE). People’s lives depend on us. (MUSIC) I swear to God I don’t –.
Jolie: Did you know about the guns?
Unidentified Male: Thousands of kids die because I wouldn’t bend the rules.
Jolie: You don’t have to transport guns to help people.
Unidentified Male: You do here. (MUSIC) I think you know he wasn’t just a doctor anymore. (UNINTELLIBLE) (UNINTELLIGIBLE) your CIA agent. One of you must die. I’m absolutely crazy about you. I’m not good for you. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) If anything happens to her –. (UNINTELLIGBLE)
Jolie: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just disappeared. I want you to be safe. Go home. I’m not leaving until I find him. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) (MUSIC)
Rose: And pleased to have Angelina Jolie back at this table. Welcome back.
Jolie: Thank you. Nice to be back.
Rose: This movie came before or after your own sense of – of wanting to be involved in – with the United Nations and in terms (ph) of your relief work around the world?
Jolie: It – the script came before. I read the script about five years ago and I was moved by it, but knew very little about the world and – of relief workers and famine and (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So – but when the film didn’t go, like, I was really upset and, like, I – I really wanted to go on the journey and wanted to understand what the content of the film was. So I – I got a lot of books and sat up one night and – actually a few nights and – and then eventually called Washington and asked if I could just go – if I could travel with them, if they would access to kind of witness the movement of refugees or camps or U.N. workers – if I could see it and if I could learn about the world. And they were – and they were gracious enough to let me go. And then later, I did join the U.N. and –.
Rose: Well, you just travel with them and went to observe and – mainly because you wanted to absorb or because you wanted to – to somehow gather material to make a film or to –.
Jolie: Well, I never thought the film was going to come around and I just – I just personally felt that – I started to notice from living in Europe – I started to notice that there was a lot (UNINTELLIGIBLE) there was a lot of different things that I just hadn’t heard about – I just felt there was – I think there’s a lot we’re not taught in schools. There was a lot I – they didn’t cover Pol Pot in my history books. They didn’t – I didn’t properly understand what’s been going on, you know in all these countries around the world and how – you know, how the majority of the world lives and, really, what’s happening. And so I kind of learned best by being in an environment and wanted to just educate myself. I felt really blinded (ph) to the real world.
Rose: And how did it change you?
Jolie: It changed me completely. It changed me just to – I just realized how fortunate I was and how stupid I had been for ever being self destructive or wanting some more or not understanding how – how grateful I should be just that I know where my family is and they’re alive and my child’s healthy and – (UINTELLIBLE) you forget those things all the time. And just the sense of purpose and responsibility. You meet these people – and I go in for a few days, but there are these people that spend every day of their lives for years just helping other people and are totally dedicate to it and love it and love being around people like (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
Rose: We have, most of us – most of us, certainly in America, most of us – have no sense of how the rest of the world —
Jolie: No, we don’t.
Rose: –.most of it, lives. Or a good portion of it.
Jolie: The majority of it.
Rose: And you wonder if, in fact, there was some sense because, you know, I do have great fait in the instincts of people if they see with their own eyes –. Then, you know, they’re moved. You see it in a thousand ways and see it primarily when there’s some tragedy like 9/11, you know, that brings the two of them. Or you see it —
Rose: –.in the tragedy of a village far away where people, you know, are fighting the most difficult things and having their children and their husbands wrenched away from them –.
Rose: –.and how they pull together and, you know, out of instinct.
Rose: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and to be good and to care and to make a difference.
Jolie: Absolutely. And like I said, it’s a shame that we’re not kind of raised with this – you know, I wish I was mandatory for me to take other people’s histories when I was in school. That I should have learned about great African heroes and great Asian heroes and Europe and European history and leaders, not just my own history. You know, and I think that would just – I don’t know. I think we should just be more aware of each other.
Rose: But it changes you in terms of conduct, how? In terms of —
Jolie: I mean, I’m still the same person. I just have such a – I have a – (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I was always quite lost in not having a sense of purpose. I think to be an actor is a nice thing and you can tell good stories and – but I think to know that you’re useful just as a human being with your own hands, really to, you know, just be out there with real people, out talking to families, being amongst people like the people in aid relief who really are these amazing human beings. And learning about the world and – you know, it’s just – it’s such a – you’re useful. You’re a part of real life. And it just – it’s given me happiness and I’ve learned more from refugees and about life and love and family than I ever did back home.
Rose: Did it influence your decision to adopt Maddox as a Cambodian? Did that influence your decision to do that?
Jolie: I’ve always wanted to adopt.
Jolie: My mom, since I was a kid (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you saw “Annie” (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I just always had the idea of adopting an orphan was very much in my mind. So I went —
Rose: But you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) there was a choice to adopt an orphan rather than to have your own child because you felt like you could do something different that way or make a difference?
Jolie: I feel like – I feel like it’s wonderful when people fall in love and have children. I feel personally like it – if I didn’t adopt Maddox – if I had a child, then Maddox would be where? In an orphanage somewhere. And that breaks my heart. I want – I believe in finding a family across the world. I believe there are a lot of children. And so for those people that have – that blood doesn’t matter to me. Blood is not what makes family. I think it’s – I think it’s great to be able to find each other across the world and become a big family.
Rose: Was it a struggle to get Maddox?
Jolie: It wasn’t easy, but I don’t think it should be. I think in some cases it should be difficult to adopt because I think more people would if it was – but it was a bit (ph), but it was worth it. I mean, it was – they told me, they said to me, you’re going to have nine months of being pregnant. So, you know, suddenly one day – it was in the middle of “Beyond Borders” — it was during the Africa section, it was –.
Rose: That you got the call?
Jolie: No, that I had – I had – I met him when he was three months old —
Jolie: –but all the paperwork all was done when he was seven months. And so I was in the middle of shooting this movie and – I went to the airport – they gave me the door. I had went to the airport and a nurse handed me Maddox and I went back to this rented house by myself and I had never – I had never been around kids my whole life.
Rose: You had no instruction? Nobody had —
Jolie: No. I called my mom.
Rose: What did she say?
Jolie: I just – (UNINTELLIGIBLE) – how many bottles a day? How many – you know, what I do? How do you —
Rose: You didn’t know how?
Jolie: I did when I was on set. But I kind of – I think I felt guilty about not having given birth and been there for the first seven months. So I felt like I had to, you know, sweat and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to earn some kind of parenthood. So I didn’t have as much help as I probably should have had at the beginning because I was just falling asleep a lot on set and I was a bit – maybe not the best mom even at times because I was just not as (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as I could have been. But the U.N. did – I traveled first to Cambodia with (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And then I went back twice with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) HTR to visit with people who had returned from the camps in Thailand.
Rose: Tell me how that role has evolved at the U.N. We’ll come back to “Beyond the Borders” (sic). How has that role evolved for you – because you’re now being honored because of the work you do and a lot of attention has come to you because of this – because you’re the visible expression of a commitment. Is it a significant course in real life (ph) You’re traveling around the world all the time now.
Jolie: Yes, everytime I get to – I just recently – I finished a film and I went and made it into the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Border of Chechnya (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I just went to Moscow and then went back and got back Maddox and we went – I went into Congo.
Rose: You took Maddox to Congo?
Jolie: He stayed in Uganda because it wasn’t safe for him in Congo.
Rose: Would you take him to the – to the border for Chechnya?
Jolie: NO, they – he had to stay in London because – he usually travels with me everywhere. But I was warned that because of the Chechan-Russian situation that it might not be safe for him.
Rose: On the border – what do you do when you go to the border? You visit refugees and try to make sure that –.
Jolie: I really tried to just – I didn’t want to become a goodwill ambassador. I was never – that was never my intention – and to travel with the U.N. for – I asked, no press with me and I just wanted to educate myself and – and when they asked me, I – I was really happy to support them because I learned a lot about them and I wanted people to know about the organization and to know positive things about refugees and how inspiring they are and how strong they are and, you know, not all the negative things you hear. And so a lot of times – I do keep journals and I do speak about – when I have a chance like this. But a lot of times in the field, it’s just a lot of sitting with the family and asking them, you know, where they’ve been, understanding their story. You know, meeting with children and spending time with them and thinking (ph) – you know, their dreams and their hopes and, you know, what – just being a friend, being somebody who represents my country and all countries (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to say, I’m here. That you’re not forgotten and people care and would love to spend time with you and you’re human beings and we are sorry you are going through this.
Rose: If you could (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for reasonable change, something that would be reasonable to do – I mean, obviously you’d love to be able to provide shelter and a job and security and a whole lot of other things.
Rose: An effort to return to their homeland and all of those kinds of things and to live in peace. All of that you would like to do. But what is the pressing need?
Jolie: Well, I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so much of it because it – you know, I was overwhelmed by the huge amount – there are 20 million in the care of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right now. There are that many displaced people.
Rose: How many?
Jolie: Twenty million. Half of those – about half of those are children. You know, that they’re – that they’re working in over 100 countries.
Rose: And living in camps or living –.
Jolie: A lot of them are living in camps. Some are living in – some are hidden in the borders of Colombia because of the danger that they have, you know –.
Jolie: ..declaring – they’re hiding in different houses. They’re hiding in shelters with now —
Rose: Right. Right. Because of the —
Jolie: It’s all different. You know, obviously, in the Balkans in certain areas, they’re in gymnasiums, they’re not in – it’s all different. ..and saying, Why – why did it become – you know, how is that there are 3 million people who have crossed this border? What’s going on inside the country? That (UNINTELLIGIBLE – in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we suddenly – we were suddenly – suddenly, everybody was aware of that situation. But months before, the Taliban had been in power for seven years. For 20 years people had been in camps. And — when there’s instability in area – it’s like, Congo, or, you know, Colombia — Why has it gotten to this point where it until it explodes into huge human crisis, where there are people who are running for their lives or their houses are being burned or they’re being macheted in the middle of the Congo? Why does it have to get that bad for us to say, What’s feeding this war? Or, you know, if they’re fighting for democracy, let’s help them before they lose it. You know, let’s – let’s try to do some prevention. That’s – I mean – never to be preachy, but it’s just that kind of thing where I’m walking around saying, Well, how – how can there be this much death? Or how can there be this much displacement? Or how can there be –. Well, I wanted to know what causes it. And I’m starting to realize that, you know, some things funds – you know, when go to Congo, for example, and you see – there’s gold and there’s (UNINTELLIGBLE) stuff in cell phones. And these little kids are being, you know, forced to do manual labor to pull out of the ground. And then they give it to militia guys. And then they give to government officials that are corrupt. And then they give it, sell it to big companies who – eventually, it ends up in our phones. So, we need to know who we’re buying from and we need our countries to be really strong – that’s one thing, because we obviously feed these wars, you know, in some way. In some way, we’re not responsible enough to know exactly what – and I’m not saying America. I’m saying everybody – you know, what our policies are in these other countries and – so, it’s not, Well, it’s exploded into war and now we have to send them military aid, because that’s too late, really. So, I don’t know. That’s – that’s what I’ve started to come to. I’ve started to really wonder about why – you know, how is that the world is so imbalanced that we are the small, small percentage of people that are living with – with everything that we have.
Rose: With all the resources we have.
Rose: And we still haven’t (UNINTELLIGIBLE) “Beyond Borders.” Tell me about the story and why it appeals to you and what you learned from it.
Jolie: It is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) love story. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what is it about, because it’s about so many things. It is an epic love story, but – and it deals with –.
Rose: An epic love story is one in which – how do you define epic love story?
Jolie: Well, it’s – to me, it’s a great love story because there are two people who – I think the greatest love is if you can find somebody that opens your eyes and makes you a better person and inspires you to do better things with your life than – that’s a great love. Somebody that’s going to accept you as you are, but helps you to – and they do that for each other. They – they are – and they also have their heart in the same place. They have similar goals and similar passions. And yet, because of responsibilities to some things, they are not together for much of the movie.
Rose: Because of their commitment to something else.
Jolie: Yes, and I think that’s responsible and that’s something that’s good to be looked at in the film. But this film goes from Ethiopia 1984 to the Thai-Cambodia border late 80’s to Chechnya ’94, which is very interesting because their situations are in some ways different and in some ways not very different today. And just it deals with relief workers, the U.N., corruption, famine, desperation of people, refugees. But also just friendships and love and all that.
Rose: Yes. A (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is a love story.
Jolie: Well, I think the core – in the core it’s about the choices we make. In the core (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I think for some people, it’ll be the love story. For some people, it’ll be the countries. It’s really not one thing or the other. And really, it’s – it’s at the end of the day, you know – we have these – this opportunity to make a choice. Everybody watching this right now probably has something they think maybe they’d like to do, have always wanted to do, or something they left behind that they maybe they think, OK, I’m going to do it, I’m going to make the call. Or I’m going to go that place I’ve never gone to. Or I’m going to decide to change my life for the better right now.
Rose: Thank you for coming.