Angelina Jolie

Interview

Friday, January 06, 2012

You don't get much more famous than Angelina Jolie. The acting roles that made her famous (the troubled teen in Girl Interrupted, the ass-kicking archeologist in Tomb Raider) have long been overshadowed by her personal life – the endless stream of chatter about her six children with Brad Pitt.

But Jolie’s latest project found her behind the camera. In the Land of Blood and Honey is her directing and screenwriting debut. Set in the former Yugoslavia during the civil war of the 1990s, it follows a love story between a Bosnian Serb soldier and his Muslim prisoner. The film is violent, political, and it's performed in Serbo-Croatian by a local cast. “I was so excited as an artist to work with other artists from former Yugoslovia,” Jolie says. “What could we learn from each other?"

Some of the scenes of violence — particularly sexual violence — hit close to home for the actors playing the scenes. “They’re screaming and yelling at the women and pulling their coats off. As soon as we’d call cut, they’d put their coats back on them, they’d apologize,” Jolie remembers. “They were very uncomfortable. [But] the reason they played that is to show the violence against women."

“I love being behind the camera,” she says. But it was hard for her kids to take in. “They came to set and they said, ‘Why does it say director on your door?’ I didn’t even have an answer.”

 

Still from In the Land of Blood and Honey Ajla (Zana Marjanović) turns away from Danijel’s (Goran Kostić) advances. (Dean Semler/Courtesy of FilmDistrict and GK Films)

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Guests:

Angelina Jolie

Produced by:

Jenny Lawton, Sharon Mashihi and Leital Molad

Comments [11]

Misha

I heard this interview a year ago and still remember the embarrassing level of condescension. I could not believe what I was hearing. I expect a lot more objectivity and professionalism from this radio station. Ok, maybe I'm not the biggest Jolie fan as an actress, but that kind of treatment of any human being is unacceptable and deserves a spanking from Jolie security. How else can you deal with snobby white boys from Harvard

Oct. 06 2013 05:24 PM
tuffy

Geez, Kurt!

What happened to your normally fun, intelligent and refreshing interview skills?
Do your job and get a clue!
That was appalling!
At least be aware of the background and history of who you're interviewing, and please at least try assuming she is intelligent (if only based on some of her fabulous acting, which goes far beyond her physical beauty [eg, Gia!]) as you would with any other person you are interviewing!
It sounded as if you were struggling to hold your pants up!

Jan. 19 2012 01:22 AM
Mike White from Westland, MI

I tend to agree with the comments here. The last statement of the interview was very telling and oh-so-condescending. It came across like, "Wow, you're not so crazy after all!"

Jan. 10 2012 08:59 AM
Alan from NJ

Lastly, I should note: nobody should take offense at Mr. Anderson for this one. Ms. Jolie is perfectly capable of forming her own response to her interviewer, as it's a safe assumption she picked up on the same vibe others have. In this case, she handled it gracefully.

Jan. 08 2012 11:28 PM
Alan from NJ

I can't help but agree with some of the other comments here and on this episode's main page.

All-in-all, the interview was fine. However, I think Mr. Anderson fell into the trap of assuming that Ms. Jolie was either a reflection of her pop-culture image (as created by rapacious tabloid journalism perhaps a decade ago?) or, also unconsciously, that her pretty face is not that of an serious humanitarian or a serious filmmaker.

There is an element of patronizing condescension to both assumptions, though it may be more attributable to issues of gender and the media than to any sense of superiority on Mr. Anderson's part.

That is to say, it may be that Mr. Anderson was not well-read on Ms. Jolie's activities and interests, and thus was genuinely surprised at how well-versed she was on humanitarian issues, ethnic and religious conflict in the former Yugoslavia, or the how-to of being a director.

If Mr. Anderson was legitimately surprised that Ms. Jolie "has a head on her shoulders," he needn't pat her on the head about it. That's where the interview became patronizing. It ended at a good time.

Jan. 08 2012 11:15 PM
bob from Tennessee

Kurt sounded like a "fanboy". I got REALLY tired of his extended questions and his constant interrupting. He sounded like the geek who finally got to talk to the hot girl. Good grief. I doubt AJ and her entourage will be back any time soon.

Jan. 08 2012 10:49 PM
Sheryl from New York

I must add my voice in agreement with the other comments. A "UN whatever"-so condescending and minimizing. The tattoo question was for informational purposes and Kurt made it judgmental-"really" so incredulous that she would continue getting them. But the most embarrassing moment was Kurt telling her she "seems sane" and "has a head on her shoulders"...that would never be said to a man and the sheer inappropriateness was astounding. All throughout she was gracious, articulate and brought the interview up to a level worth listening to.

Jan. 08 2012 12:30 PM
Benita

Ha hahaha! That was awesome and hilarious. Kurt sounded more nervous and excited than I've ever heard him. His voice was an octave higher than normal.

Jan. 08 2012 11:46 AM
Marisa from NYC

I usually am a big fan of Kurt Anderson, but I was shocked how condescending he was to this guest. At the end he said "it seems like you have a good head on your shoulders" as if he had some how assumed she was going to be vapid. She just told you she researched, wrote and then directed a movie about a fairly heavy topic. Would he have said that to a male actor who was crossing over directing movies? I was, frankly, insulted.

Jan. 07 2012 04:53 PM

I listen to the show pretty often and really enjoy it. But today I was offended(!) by what seemed like aggressive condesension on the part of the interviewer. On the other hand I was struck by the grace and ease with which AJ handled the interview. Particularly during the part where KA insisted that the intelligent and gifted actor should feel uncomfortable moving behind the camera - because he though he would. [Cringe] I almost tuned out. Glad I didn't. I'm looking forward to seeing "In the Land of Blood and Honey". And I remain a fan of this interesting, thoughtful and (clearly) kind interviewee (...artist,altruist,activist,writer,director...) Wow, that IS kind of intimidating.

Jan. 07 2012 04:00 PM
Maura Barnett from Alabaster, AL

She was great. He did a terrible job though. I was so embarrassed for Ms. Jolie. Kurt Anderson did a painfully uneducated and poor interview and made it obvious that he hasn't read or researched anything about Ms. Jolie's life. He referred to Mr. Pitt as her husband, which she graciously let slide. He incredulously asked "You're going to keep getting them?!" when referring to her tattoos, clearly demonstrating that he has no clue she's gotten new ones for each of her children. And he jumbled her title of UN Goodwill Ambassador- glossing over it like it held no meaning. NPR should be embarrassed. What a sad and disappointing misuse of her valued time.

Jan. 07 2012 02:32 PM

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