Earlier this week, at the VERY FAB Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, I had the great pleasure of meeting and talking to Angelina Jolie, the star of the new Disney movie, Maleficent. I actually had no opinion of Angelina before meeting her. I have seen many of her films, but didn’t really like or dislike her. She was just a celebrity to me. I didn’t have great expectations of the interview, as I wasn’t quite sure what she was like IRL.
I HAVE to say, I was completely smitten with her. She may be one of the most down to earth celebs that I’ve ever met. It was like chatting with an old friend–one who just happens to be a world famous actress, with a world famous husband, and an incredible love of the world. I’ve chosen a few quotes from our session that stuck out for me and kind of define who she is. To set the tone, this was the morning after I’d seen Malificent:
*on why, at this stage of her career, she was attracted to a family film. She started off explaining how an abused woman puts a wall up, then she said this:
…And you become darker and you’re not able to be this soft person that you were born to be. And then what could possibly ever bring you back?…but the thing that brings her back is very much the thing that brought me back. And so, I was very, very connected to it.
*on how a regular mom can make a difference in humanitarian issues:
…of every mom, the most important thing we do is we raise our children with love and compassion to become great people and thoughtful of others and that’s the most important thing. If everybody did just that, we’d have a very different world. And encourage our children’s education and help them to be conscious of the world around them. I think mothers have the most powerful role. There was even examples of Taliban fighters who stopped because their mothers stopped them. Because the mothers became educated.
*on the kidnapped Nigerian girls:
…especially with being online, there is so much to connect to and there is so much that can be done… as you see now with the situation with the Nigerian girls, that’s not government, that’s the masses speaking out. And, pushing for government change…Sometimes doesn’t feel like every voice counts, but it really does.
*on her new project, a film called Unbroken. It’s about a former Olympic track star who survives a plane crash and subsequent weeks of drifting on a raft in the Pacific to then become a POW.
Well Unbroken , is a heavier movie, but we’re aiming for PG-13. And I think it’s very important that it’s for young people, because, you know, there is so much out there that is so aggressive and all that stuff… I’m not against, you know, but I did want to make Unbroken because I wanted to do something that I felt was inspiring and that young people would be inspired by. My boys saw it for the first time the other day and I watched them sit through the whole, and I watched their heads to see if they’d move. They didn’t, and they asked me so many interesting questions about faith, and life, and death, and war. I think it’s very, very important now we can talk to our kids about real life issues, and real stories, and real film.
* on balancing it all:
I’m in a very lucky position. I have a supportive partner and he and I are able to take turns working often. When I direct [a film]…I get to decide when I leave in the morning and when I come home at night, and I can edit in my bedroom, and would be there in case there’s an emergency with the children. So I have a very rare luxury with my job to be able to have my kids with me on set every day and home school…other mothers have it much harder than I do, and don’t have the means to have the assistance I do. I don’t feel like I, by any means, do anything exceptional.
See why I loved her? She totally gets it. She’s not diva-like and didn’t even have much of an entourage. She was VERY nice and very humble, and genuinely glad to meet bloggers. By the way, I was prepared to NOT like this film. Silly me. I LOVED it. Everyone knows the story of Sleeping Beauty. Everyone thinks that they know the story of Maleficent. But you really don’t. Be prepared for a very unpredictable flick that has a lot of twists and turns and evokes a lot of emotion. It’s perfect for a multi-generational activity.
Go see it next weekend, it opens on the 30th! In the meantime, here’s so behind-the-scenes footage:
Disclosure: I was able to meet Angelina Jolie as part of the Disney press junket for Maleficent in Los Angeles. Disney covered my travel, lodging, meals and activities. All of the opinions, however, are my own.