Los Angeles – Looking radiant in a white Bottega Veneta dress, Angelina Jolie talked to us for the first time after her separation from Brad Pitt. She talked to us about her kids, her thoughts on forgiveness, reconciliation, how she sees herself 10 years from now, her new movie and the Angelina Jolie of today.
“I don’t enjoy it. It’s not something I wanted,” Angelina told us when asked about being single these days. “No. Sorry, there’s just nothing nice about it. It’s just hard.”
Angelina, who recently directed the biographical historical thriller film, “First They Killed My Father,” which is based on her Cambodian friend, author and human activist Loung Ung’s memoir of the same name, co-wrote the film with Loung. Angelina also produced the film along with Rithy Panh, while Angelina’s son Maddox, 16, is also the executive producer and her other son Pax, 14, is involved in taking production still photos.
“As a mother, I am proud of my children and what they do,” she told us. “It is a good experience for them to be working on the film.”
Since the movie revealed the bonding of Loung with her siblings when they were separated from their parents under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge, we asked Angelina how her own six children have been supporting each other everyday.
“They have been amazing,” she proudly said. “It’s been so moving to see how much they have helped each other, stood together, the big brothers helping the little kids and all of them helping me. They are your kids and you speak of your own kids, but they have really come into their own during this time. They are finding themselves and their voices. They are just like, in the film I supposed, I know that they will have each other for life. It gives me great peace to know the day I pass away that they will have each other and they will take care of each other.”
She talked about the greatest challenges of being a parent these days and how she handles these challenges. “I am not very good at just letting things happen,” she admitted. “I am somebody who will try to jump in. I can’t help myself. As I said before, it is interesting and we focus so much on many things but making sure our children have a sense of joy is not a small thing, because we want to make sure that they have a sense of purpose of course. But their purpose gives them a sense of that they are looking forward in this life and that they feel engaged in this life and that they wake up with a certain sense of drive. But also that they laugh, live and appreciate. So challenges are when there are a lot of heavy things going on or just daily life or teenagers. I have many teenagers now and there are all the complications that come with it. I am just hoping that nobody will ever be as difficult as I was. So far they are not.”
Asked why she felt she had this creative and artistic need to do films that examine the world’s atrocities and in man, Angelina explained, “I was exposed to many of these countries and what they have been through. I wanted to understand more, and go deeper. I want to understand more. This war in particular I had learned quite a bit about, but I felt that the country doesn’t speak about this in the way that I felt. I didn’t really feel there had been in a way something that spoke to the young people of the country in the way that I wanted this to. I knew that it wasn’t being taught in schools in this way and it just started to very small. There seemed to be something that was really lacking in the discussion and my son being Cambodian, I really wanted Maddox to learn about this history, so I felt that this was a journey that we would take. But this particular film, as I have explored different sides of war and first kind of how war affects people, how they are separated, how they become and be torn in separate parts of the conflict.
“There’s something about this, seeing it through the eyes of the most vulnerable, the little girl, and trying to be inside that, feel that, see inside what propaganda does, what this kind of a life does, how she could come out, and how does that happen? What do we not know about life? We wake up and we really don’t understand. They have been through the worst and they are so evolved. So I wanted to walk her steps and learn and hope my kids would learn.”
So where does she see herself 10 years from now and how would she have answered that question 10 years ago, we asked.
“Ten years ago I would have not absolutely said where I am today, because I would have thought very differently about my family life and my marriage. I would have thought very differently about my career. I would have never thought that I was going to be a director. I would have bet on just all the kids, all the travel and continuing that work. In 10 years, I don’t know. You get to that age and you just want to be healthy. So I hope I am able to still be creative and Mad will be 26. He just got to be 16 and I couldn’t stop crying as I was reading him his card. He couldn’t stop laughing at me. So I don’t know. I guess in ten years, they are all out of the house. So I have no idea what I will be doing. Chasing them around I suppose. Hopefully no grandkids yet.”
And how is she in terms of everything that has been going on in her own life?
“I am okay,” she revealed. “It is hard. This is the first time I have actually been doing this for a really long time. It’s not easy. I am a little shy at this time, because I am not as strong I think inside as I have been in the past.”
Her attitude personally to forgiveness?
“Well it’s a very good question I think because, it gets political this answer, I believe in justice and I believe that without any form of justice, it’s very hard to ask for complete forgiveness. I speak to the kids often and I say I don’t want you to hold ill will towards anybody in your heart, wish for anything bad for anybody or have hate towards anybody. But the idea that there is a right and a wrong, there is truth to that. There is a right and a wrong. There is justice and there is criminal behavior. There is cruelty and there are things that must be stood up against. So in order to be able to get to a place of peace and forgiveness, you have to address the crime and you have to make sure that the crime does not repeat itself.”
So is there some great reconciliation for her personally, we asked.
“I can reconcile if I feel that there has been some form of justice done and some lesson learned,” she disclosed. “But I believe that we must do that, or else we are just staying in the cycle. But in my heart, I think it’s very important not to ever hold hate, and it just destroys you. And Louis taught me that.”
There are two Angelina Jolies – the one of 20 years ago and the one today. Can she share with us her feelings about the new Angelina?
“Well, there’s probably 12 of us,” she said. “But now I need to rediscover a little bit of some of the feeling of the old me actually. We lose our way a bit and we get quite overwhelmed. I have had a lot happen in my life from certain people passing to health issues to raising the children and a lot of things. It’s been a very good time to absorb a lot, develop a lot and grow. But maybe it’s also my kids growing up where I am starting to realize my own sense of play has been put on hold a little bit, my own sense of joy. Maybe with them hitting their teens is going to bring out a little more fun in mom. So maybe I am going back. It may be time.”