's fiercely glamorous, dismissive of Hollywood and collects knives. And in Interrupted ANGELINA JOLIE is doing for the female sociopath what Jack
Nicolson did for the men in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Words: James Manning lFA/Hannah McGill
AFTER JONNY LEE MILLER'S DIVORCE FROM ANGELINA JOLIE, he took up with an All Saint. Now. no-one's knocking the country‘s favourite combats ‘n‘ cleavage pop princesses. but what would Miller's onscreen alter-ego. Sick Boy have made of such an undignified slide down the celebrity ladder? Angelina Jolie is a proper. full-on. terrifying star. after all; not a household name just yet. but reeking of glamour and utterly untouchable nonetheless. Beautiful far beyond Hollywood’s call of duty. clever and odd and fiercely charismatic. she makes your standard celebrity glamour girls look like catalogue models. Still. she‘s the first to admit that Miller didn't get an easy time of it.
‘I wasn‘t a good wife.’ she says now of ' ‘
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marriage that took place when she was only tw ~ time I was filming Gia [a televsion movie abot addicted proto-supermodel Gia Carangi. for which Jolie won her first Golden Globe]. I was like. "I‘m off for a few months. I'll be in a hotel but I can‘t speak to you because I’ll have AIDS. I'll be dying. and I'll be gay" . . . He had to put up with a lot because my career came first.’ She‘s philosophical now about the split: ‘I‘ve always had problems in relationships because I've always had the feeling that I wasn't really born to love a person.’
Not exactly ‘never; ever have I everfelt .so bad'. then. Jolie‘s much-vaunted oddness has earned her a cult following. despite her relatively young film career. There are the tattoos. for a start — common enough nowadays but still a shock to conservative Hollywood which prefers its starlets sweet and mild. Then there is the collection of knives. which Jolie vigorously defends — ‘My knives are not butcher‘s knives. I‘m not into guns or violence. To me. they‘re beautiful pieces of art.‘
Casting directors have picked up on Jolie‘s wild side. and consequently she‘s sidestepped the bland wife/girlfriend/best mate roles that dog the early careers of other actresses. Instead. she‘s hit upon a series of interesting. offbeat roles that reflect her own mercurial personality. In The Bone Collector. she was Denzel Washington‘s sidekick. a hardbitten policewoman (she describes the onscreen sexual tension between herself and Washington as ‘the best sex I‘ve ever had‘). Pushing 'l‘in saw her play a wayward. flirty young woman. restless in her marriage. 'I don‘t think an actor should take on a role they know nothing about or aren‘t suited for.‘ she says. ‘I first auditioned for Cate Blanchett's role in Pushing Tin.
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but as I don’t know what it‘s like to be a mother or a wife on that level. it was obvious that there‘s something in me that‘s closer to the part that I eventually played.‘
Her role as a sociopathic mental patient in Girl, Interrupted. an adaptation of Susanna Kaysen’s best- selling memoir in which Jolie co-stars with Winona Ryder. required her to access a darker side of herself. No great stretch for one obsessed by death. ‘I have probably lived in what people regard as the dark side more than other people.‘ she says. ‘But it‘s just about wanting to feel alive. I need to keep my senses open. I need to have experiences. I‘m not dark - I’m just not afraid of dark.’
- the same sense of fearlessness that attracted her
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. nierrupted. her thrillingly manic performance ‘ ‘ - the intensity of Jack Nicolson as Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo ’s Nest. and earning her a second Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. It was the wildness that caught her imagination. ‘The reason I related to the character of Lisa was because in the book she's described as having “wild eyes that had seen freedom.”
Freedom is Jolie‘s real obsession. Defending a lifestyle that‘s openly unconventional by covergirl standards. she quotes Billie Holiday: “If! go to church on Sunday, and cabaret on Monday. it ain ’t nobody 's business if] (10' . . . I live my life like that. As long as you don’t hurt anybody, do whatever you like.’ She thanks her father. Jon Voight. for this worldview. ‘He taught me so many things about what’s important and feeling good and having meaning in my Iife.‘ That determination to grow while enjoying life to the full prompted her to put her career on hold to study film at NYC. Drawn to artistic people rather then movie royalty. she is currently seeking out a suitably bohemian residence — ‘I’d like to live with a bunch of artists who sculpt and paint and go nuts.’
Perhaps because of her father‘s fame. Jolie remains undazzled by movie glitz. She might be up for an Oscar. but she stills seems poised to flit off to pastures newer and stranger if stardom disappoints. Other actresses might live in fear of failure. obscurity. cellulite or bad box-office takings. but not Angelina: ‘My biggest fear in life is being bored. Being at a standstill scares the hell out of me.’
Girl, Interrupted opens Fri 24 Mar. See review, page 28.