Humanitarian and actress Angelina Jolie talks to Vanity Fair, and poses for famed photog Patrick Demarchelier. And here are excerpts from the July issue:
On why she chose to do Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted: Because I had just done A Mighty Heart and was scheduled to do Changeling, which is about the kidnapping of a child. And I had lost my mom. And I knew I was in this odd, fuzzy state going from one loss and kidnapping to another loss and kidnapping. Then Wanted came along. It’s about being physical and jumping and running and being violent, and instinctively I knew I needed to do that.
On her relationship with Brad Pitt: People have made a lot out of it that we’re not. But we both have been married before, and it’s very easy to get married, but it’s not easy to build a family and be parents together. And maybe we’ve done it backwards, but we certainly feel married.
On naming her daughter Shiloh: It’s a biblical name, but we didn’t name her for that. It was a name my parents almost named their first child—there was a miscarriage: Shiloh Baptist. Because my father had been shooting in Georgia and that was the most southern name [my parents] could come up with. It’s a name I always liked. I used to go under it in hotels: Shiloh Baptist. I’d gone under it when [Brad] called hotel rooms where I was staying.
On her mother’s passing: When [my mother] passed, I realized that somebody who lives life with that kind of dedication to their family is the most noble. I was aware of it growing up. I admired her. And I loved her. But in her passing she reminded me what matters. And what’s most fun—to put yourself aside for these other little people you’re raising.
On religion: Brad got me this great thing for Christmas. It’s a bookshelf that has a book on every religion. That’s how we plan to raise our kids. Teach them about all religions. They can pick one or be a student of all of them. We’ll celebrate Kwanzaa for our girl. We’ll celebrate moon and water festivals for our boys. We’ll take them to temples in certain countries. Also to church.
On meeting Brad Pitt: After my last divorce, I said I was absolutely going to marry somebody in another field, an aid worker or something. Then I met Brad, everything I wasn’t looking for, but the best man, the best father I could possibly wish for, you know? I don’t see him as an actor. I see him very much as a dad, as somebody who loves travel and architecture more than being in movies.
On her father Jon Voight and his film Coming Home, which he won the best-actor Oscar in 1979: Actually. I’ve never seen Coming Home. Because that was when my father left my mom, and the woman who he cheated on her with is in the film. (When rumors surfaced about Jolie and Pitt, who was then married to Aniston, Jolie denied them, saying, in essence, Look, this is what happened to my mother, so I could never do it to another woman.)
On teaching Maddox about death: Mad always knew my mom was sick. So when it happened, I sat him down and I told him how some people believe there’s a heaven where everybody goes and is together again. And they believe it’s very white and beautiful. And some believe—he’d just seen Casper—there are ghosts who are people and they are always around. And some believe it’s a long peaceful sleep. When I told him, and I was crying, ‘Grand-mère died today, we won’t be able to see her anymore, but she’ll always be around,’ he said, ‘Like she’s here now? Like she’s in that chair?’ And I said, ‘Well, I suppose she could be.’ And he accepted it. It’s funny. It’s like we teach kids the things that we want to believe. Then we see that they have such beautiful faith and it helps them go to bed and we’re in the other room not sleeping well.
On sharing a love of philanthropy with Brad: This was actually one of the things that brought us together. Though he wasn’t as publicly active, I found him to be very aware of the world, very curious, very compassionate. In his private way, he had been doing a lot. When we met, we realized our common goals were that we both wanted to be involved in the world and see what we could do. We have similar interests but different approaches. He’s more involved in rebuilding New Orleans, environmental issues, green sustainability. I am more refugees. But when it comes to common goals—orphans, orphans’ rights, children—we support each other. It brings us together and makes our relationship work.
To read the full article and see more Ms. Jolie pictures, visit VanityFair.com.
Wanted hits theaters on June 27.