Before the end of the year, audiences will see Angelina Jolie as a one-eyed military commander, a sexy animated fish and a muse for an epic legendary hero. But, when the Oscar winner waltzes in to an interview with her reddish hair, long earrings and dressed in a loose black shirt, she insists that she’s just a mom.
“I like being a mom,” she says about her 3-year-old son, Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie, whom she adopted from Cambodia. “I don’t want to be away very long, and it was nice to do some of these quickly. These days, I like films I can do less in.”
In the animated “Shark Tale,” she’s a sexy fish with big lips; in the big special effects film “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” she’s Frankie, a military commander with an eye patch, and in the epic “Alexander,” she’s Olympias opposite Colin Farrell.
She didn’t have to be in make-up to do the voice of the naughty fish in “Shark Tale,” with Will Smith. “I hate my own voice, like most people,” she says. “I listen to myself on the answering machine and I’m like, ‘Ugh.’ So, they brought me into this room and there were all these different pictures of fish. I saw this fish with this big red mouth and pointy eyebrows. I saw her immediately, and I liked her. It was me just kind of filling those shoes because they made her very sparkly and sexy.”
For the role of Frankie, she’s a pilot and most of the time she sat in costume on a box in an empty room because “Sky Captain” is virtually all special effects. “Frankie always had one eye, so I had some problems with depth perception, but that was fine.”
Jolie says she really does fly a plane. “I have learned to fly and it’s great. I’ve been flying solo and bought a plane.” And, she tells Zap2it “I could be a solider in real life if it were to happen, I could fight, but I would have to support the war. I think it’s more important to educate people properly.”
As the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she says, “I’m a parent now, traveling the world and seeing that there is real pain and that there are things to be really frightened and really scared of and really emotional about, and that the other things that I live with on a daily basis are not those things. So I tend not to be scared of things that are now just not as serious.”
And so, if she wants to take her family to an unusual part of the world, she will. She went to the Pyramids for Christmas last year, and plans another exotic holiday trip this year, perhaps to the Amazon, perhaps to the Sahara.
In “Sky Captain,” she didn’t have to travel far from home because like her “Tomb Raider” roles, a lot of it was done with special effects. But in this artsy film, co-starring Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, the underwater jets and flying battleships were all performed by the actors in an empty studio.
“There was one moment where I had the bubble on and the eye patch where I was just sitting on a box and wasn’t in a plane or anywhere,” she says. “I was just in a room full of a hundred people, my English accent had to be very cool and I was just sitting on this cardboard box pretending that I was sitting on something completely different. At first it felt very silly, but it’s creative and you try things, get to be silly again and be bold with your choices, which was nice and refreshing.”
She says she loves her character, who has a bit of history with Law’s character, and the tough strong female role was a good training ground for “Alexander” and director Oliver Stone. She gushes, “I loved doing Alexander, and I think that as an actor, that’s more fulfilling. It has a soul, you can be this woman and go through so many different emotions. You can also analyze yourself, the world and your relationships, so when you’re done with that film you feel like you’ve really grown and changed.”
Stone pushed her as an actress. “He didn’t allow anyone to be safe. If anything, he demands a certain kind of commitment and bravery and doesn’t allow for anyone to kind of get too relaxed. He wanted us all to live as our characters and he’d get upset if I lost my accent when we were out to dinner.”
Next up, she’s working with Brad Pitt in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” she developing a film about Catherine the Great called “Love and Honor” and she’s looking for another child to adopt.
“I haven’t met a child, I’m always in the process and I’ve kind of done all my paperwork in case that day comes,” sher sighs. “So, if I went into an orphanage tomorrow and it felt right, for whatever reason I’d do it.”
“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” opens nationwide Friday, Sept. 17, while “Shark Tale” opens Oct. 1, and “Alexander” is scheduled for Nov. 5.