After the Divorce, Angelina Jolie Realized She Had to Keep Acting

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards.

Angelina Jolie has been busy over the past few years, though not necessarily with acting in films. She’s become a war film director, produced a BBC youth program about media literacy, continued her work as a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees special envoy, and raising six children. But she hasn’t retired from acting entirely; Jolie’s newest film Those Who Wish Me Dead will be released in May 2021, and she spoke about why she’s back in front of the camera.

“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,” Jolie said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “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.” Though Jolie and ex-husband Brad Pitt finalized the financial portion of their ongoing divorce in 2019, they are still locked in a protracted custody battle over their five minor children (the oldest, Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt, is 19 and attends college in South Korea).

Jolie also spoke to how motherhood affected the way she was able to relate to her character in Those Who Wish Me Dead, a wild firefighter named Hannah. In the movie, Hannah is tasked with protecting a preteen boy (played by Finn Little) who witnesses a murder, but her maternal instincts don’t come as naturally as jumping into a forest fire. “My character is not maternal by nature,” said Jolie. “Sometimes [director Taylor Sheridan] would correct me because my behavior towards a child was different from [Hannah’s] behavior towards a child. It took me a little bit to treat [Little] badly, but I got there!”

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