Never one to shy away from a man’s job in movies, Angelina Jolie grabbed the chance to take on the post-partum role of the initially male protagonist in Phillip Noyce’s blockbuster spy thriller Salt. Dodging international villains while playing an espionage hottie on the lam, Angelina dropped hints about plot point clues during this conversation, though kept evasive about the more top-secret stuff. The admitted danger junkie and fretting mom also testified about the case of the disappearing sex scene, what bugged her about an appealing nonhuman co-star, and no, she did not swallow scorpions in Cambodia.
Q: You play a fearless kind of woman in Salt. So how far were you willing to go with the action, before any of your own private fear kicked in?
ANGELINA JOLIE: I think I should probably be more fearful in some ways, because I’m a little fearless to the point of stupidity sometimes, I think—and I’ve got the scars to prove it. But I just, you know, I’ve been so fortunate in my career that I’ve been able to do these type of films. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I do love to jump out of things, and on to things, and so I don’t really have a great deal of fear when it comes to those things. I, like most people, am only afraid of something happening to people I love. That is the extent of my fear. But that’s a great fear, and that’s the only thing that keeps me up at night. Other than that; my own personal safety, I’m not very smart about, but they did let me climb out on that wall in the end. That was most of this film, and they told me, “It’s safe.” It’s a stunt group I’ve worked with on many, many films, so they know me and they can tell me what to jump off of and I trust them.
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Q: But it’s pretty amazing to see a woman and not a macho guy doing some of that stuff. Are there really women like that?
AJ: Well, there are. We met them. We met women who were in the CIA with men. Tough, extraordinary women who, you know, could also be soft and sweet like somebody’s mom. They are tougher than any of us; they are extraordinarily strong women. There’s no question to me about a woman who has that ability, but that it hasn’t been on film in this way.
Q: Salt is not just a fighter, she’s a lover. She loves her man and her dog. Do you see that as a weakness for her?
AJ: I suppose it is. It’s the Achilles’ heel, you know, of anybody, what we love. But it’s also what makes us, it’s what makes life worth living, you know. To be a full person.
Q: You have a really unusual co-star in Salt—that hairy eight-legged spider. What was that experience all about, and did you get to keep it?
AJ: I did not! But I do like spiders and bugs and all that. So I’m not squeamish. And no, I did not eat scorpions in Cambodia!
Q: You’ve worked with Phillip Noyce as a director before. What was it like this time around?
AJ: It was such an easy choice. I knew going into it that we could do it together; we could pull off all these different elements that needed to make it a really good film. So it was very easy to work together, and now we’ve got a lot more kids between us!