Though she has a buzzy part in the upcoming Marvel epic The Eternals, Angelina Jolie would actually prefer to be directing more right now. It’s just that she can’t, and her high-profile divorce from Brad Pitt seems to be the reason.
“I love directing, but I had a change in my family situation that’s not made it possible for me to direct for a few years,” the star told Entertainment Weekly while promoting her upcoming firefighter thriller, Those Who Wish Me Dead. “I needed to just do shorter jobs and be home more, so I kind of went back to doing a few acting jobs. That’s really the truth of it.”
Jolie’s first narrative feature as a director, In the Land of Blood and Honey, premiered in 2011, and was quickly followed by Unbroken and By the Sea, in which she costarred with Pitt. But their 2016 divorce, which still hasn’t been finalized, apparently threw a wrench into her plans to continue directing. Since 2017’s First They Killed My Father, she hasn’t helmed any projects, instead returning to one of her biggest roles in 2019’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Now things have come full circle: Jolie is back to the stunt-heavy work that defined an earlier phase of her career, when she was leading action flicks, like the Lara Croft movies. This time, though, Jolie’s a mom, and it comes through in her performance. In Those Who Wish Me Dead, her character isn’t particularly maternal, but Jolie couldn’t help but act kindly toward her young costar. She recalled, “Sometimes [director] Taylor [Sheridan] would correct me because my behavior toward a child was different from [character Hannah’s] behavior toward a child. It took me a little bit to treat [costar Finn Little] badly, but I got there!”
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have six children: Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox, and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. In February she reflected on life as a stay-at-home mom who used to play the Tomb Raider: “Isn’t that funny? There was a day I was an action star, and now the kids are telling me to get off the trampoline because I’ll hurt myself.”