A Mighty Heart

Character: Mariane Pearl
Original Release: May 21, 2007 (France), June 22, 2007 (US)
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
Written by: John Orloff, Mariane Pearl
Produced by: Andrew Eaton, Dede Gardner, Brad Pitt
Running Time: 108 minutes
Box Office: $16,686,371 (Worldwide)

On January 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is to fly from Karachi to Dubai with his pregnant wife, Mariane, also a reporter. On the day before, with great care, he has arranged an interview in a café with an Islamic fundamentalist cleric. When Danny doesn't return, Mariane initiates a search. Pakistani police, American embassy personnel, and the FBI examine witnesses, phone records, e-mails, and hard drives. Who has him? Where is he? There's also the why: because of U.S. abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo, because of a history of Journal cooperation with the CIA, because Pearl is a Jew? Through it all, Mariane is clearheaded, direct, and determined.

Cast & Characters

Dan Futterman (Daniel "Danny"Pearl), Archie Panjabi (Asra), Denis O'Hare (John Bussey), Alyy Khan (Omar / Bashir), Irrfan Khan (Captain), Adnan Siddiqui (Dost Aliani), Will Patton (Randall Bennett), Jillian Armenante (Maureen Platt), Demetri Goritsas (John Skelton), Amy Shindler (Michelle Pearl)

Photo Gallery
Filming Dates: August 7, 2006 - November 22, 2006 and February 5, 2007 - February 7, 2007
Filming Locations:
  • Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • Karachi, Pakistan
  • Château de Valmousse, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
  • Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
  • Austin, Texas, USA
  • After Angelina Jolie was cast as Mariane Pearl, she and the filmmakers came in for a great deal of criticism, since Pearl's and Jolie's racial backgrounds are not similar, and Jolie played the role wearing makeup that somewhat darkened her own skin tone. The casting reminded many critics of the time in Hollywood when it was customary to cast "ethnic" roles with white actors in makeup rather than using black, Asian, or Native American actors. During a promotional press event for the movie, Jolie responded to the criticisms by saying, "the idea is, if you ask Marianne, because she did address that... if you did actually want to find somebody that was her exact makeup, she's actually majority Dutch, and she's as black as she is Chinese, and she's Cuban, and she's French. So, it could have gone to many different racial backgrounds, probably, if you went technical on it." Pearl herself approved of casting Jolie; in Time Magazine, Pearl said, "I have heard some criticism about her casting, but it is not about the color of your skin. It is about who you are. 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.
  • Returned to work 4 months after giving birth to her daughter Shiloh in order to begin filming this movie.
  • Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan who plays Captain could not obtain a visa to enter Pakistan.
  • Brad Pitt became inspired to capture Pearl's memoir on screen when he saw her interview on CNN while the search for her husband was going on.
  • Initially, the film was financed by Warner Brothers. After it backed out, Paramount Vantage stepped in.
  • Jennifer Aniston was originally scheduled to play Mariane Pearl.

Memorable Quotes

Mariane Pearl: This film is for Adam.

Mariane Pearl: And kidnappers - their point is to terrorize people. But I am not terrorized, and you can't be terrorized.

Mariane Pearl: The day after 9-11, Danny and I flew to Pakistan. He was the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, and I was working for French Public Radio. Thousands of journalist from all over the world arrived in Islamabad to cover the war in neighboring Afghanistan. On the 7th October, bombing began.

Male Guest: What abut the CIA agent, man?
Mariane Pearl: How do you mean?
Male Guest: All the American journalists are CIA agents, aren't they?
Asra: Sure. I mean, I work for the Wall Street Journal, so does that make me a CIA agent?
Male Guest: What do Americans really know about Pakistan, you know? I mean what do they know Afghanistan? A part from bombing all the time.
Asra: That's why I am a journalists, to let people know.

Mariane Pearl: He says "fuck you" to them.

Mariane Pearl: It is not just a group of extremist Pakistani. It is a vast and international network of terrorists. And where ever there is misery, they find people. And there is misery in lots of parts of the world.

Quotes from Cast & Crew

”I tried to give the actors what I would have wanted as an actor. He taught me how to do that, because A Mighty Heart was an experience where I could be completely free, unaware of the camera. In Blood and Honey there were certain scenes where we would try to [put] the camera far enough away where they wouldn’t see it, or not move the camera forward so they knew it was a close-up.”
Angelina Jolie, on director Michael Winterbottom in 2011

Awards & Nominations

Golden Globes - Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama - Angelina Jolie
Screen Actors Guild Awards - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role - Angelina Jolie
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards - Critics Choice Award Best Actress - Angelina Jolie
Cannes Film Festival - François Chalais Award - Michael Winterbottom
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards - Best Actress - Angelina Jolie
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards - Best Actress - Angelina Jolie
Empire Awards - Best Actress - Angelina Jolie
Film Independent Spirit Awards - Best Feature
Film Independent Spirit Awards - Best Female Lead - Angelina Jolie
Film Independent Spirit Awards - Best First Screenplay - John Orloff
Film Independent Spirit Awards - Houston Film Critics Society Awards - Best Actress - Angelina Jolie
Image Awards - Outstanding Independent or Foreign Film
Image Awards - Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture - Angelina Jolie
London Critics Circle Film Awards - Actress of the Year - Angelina Jolie
National Board of Review - Top Independent Films
Online Film & Television Association - Best Actress - Angelina Jolie
Online Film Critics Society Awards - Best Actress - Angelina Jolie
People's Choice Awards - Favorite Independent Movie
Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Outstanding Performer of the Year - Angelina Jolie
Satellite Awards - Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama - Angelina Jolie
Teen Choice Awards - Choice Movie Actress: Drama - Angelina Jolie
Women Film Critics Circle Awards - Karen Morley Award