Angelina Jolie (pron.: // joh-lee, born Angelina Jolie Voight; June 4, 1975) is an American actress and film director. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and was named Hollywood's highest-paid actress by Forbes in 2009 and 2011. Jolie promotes humanitarian causes, and is noted for her work with refugees as a Special Envoy and former Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has often been cited as the world's "most beautiful" woman, a title for which she has received substantial media attention.
Jolie made her screen debut as a child alongside her father Jon Voight in Lookin' to Get Out (1982), but her film career began in earnest a decade later with the low-budget production Cyborg 2 (1993). Her first leading role in a major film was in the cyber-thriller Hackers (1995). She starred in the critically acclaimed biographical television films George Wallace (1997) and Gia(1998), and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama Girl, Interrupted (1999).
Jolie achieved wide fame after her portrayal of video game heroine Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and established herself among the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood with the sequel The Cradle of Life (2003). She continued her action star career with Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) and Wanted (2008)—her biggest non-animated commercial successes to date—and received further critical acclaim for her performances in the dramas A Mighty Heart (2007) and Changeling (2008), which earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Jolie made her directorial debut with the wartime drama In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011).
Divorced from actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, Jolie now lives with actor Brad Pitt, in a relationship notable for fervent media attention. Jolie and Pitt have three biological children and have adopted three children.
Early life and familyEdit
Born in Los Angeles, California, Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the sister of actor James Haven, niece of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor, and goddaughter of actors Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. On her father's side, Jolie is of German and Slovak descent,and on her mother's side, she is of primarily French Canadian, Dutch, and German ancestry. Like her mother, Jolie has stated that she is partIroquois; her only known Native ancestor was a Huron woman born in 1649.
At the age of 14, Jolie dropped out of her acting classes and aspired to become a funeral director.She began working as a fashion model, modeling mainly in Los Angeles, New York, and London. During this period, she wore black clothing, experimented with knife play, and went out moshing with her live-in boyfriend.Two years later, after the relationship had ended, she rented an apartment above a garage a few blocks from her mother's home.She graduated from high school and returned to theater studies, though in recent times she has referred to this period with the observation, "I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos."After her parents' separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother lived with their mother, who had abandoned her acting ambitions to focus on raising her children. As a child, Jolie often watched movies with her mother and explained this had inspired her interest in acting; she stated that she was not influenced by her father's career. When she was six years old, her mother and stepfather, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York; they returned to Los Angeles five years later. She then decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for two years and appeared in several stage productions.
Jolie suffered episodes of suicidal depression throughout her teens and early twenties. She felt isolated at Beverly Hills High School among the children of some of the area's affluent families, as her mother survived on a more modest income, and she was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces. She found it difficult to emotionally connect with other people, and as a result she started to self-harm;later commenting, "I collected knives and always had certain things around. For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling the pain, maybe feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me." She also began experimenting with drugs; by the age of 20, she had tried "just about every drug possible," including heroin.
Jolie has had a difficult relationship with her father. Due to Voight's marital infidelity and the resulting breakup of her parents' marriage, she was estranged from her father for many years. They reconciled and he appeared with her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), but their relationship again deteriorated. In July 2002, Jolie—who had long used her middle name as a stage name to establish her own identity as an actress—filed a request to legally drop Voight as her surname, which was granted on September 12, 2002. In August of that year, Voight claimed his daughter had "serious mental problems" on Access Hollywood. In response, Jolie released a statement in which she indicated that she no longer wished to pursue a relationship with her father. She explained that because she had adopted her son Maddox, she did not think it was healthy for her to associate with Voight.In the wake of her beloved mother's death from ovarian cancer on January 27, 2007, Jolie again reconciled with her father after a six-year estrangement.
Early work: 1982; 1991–1997Edit
When she was seven years old, Jolie had a small part in Lookin' to Get Out (1982), a movie co-written by and starring her father, Jon Voight. She committed to acting at the age of 16, but initially found it difficult to pass auditions, often being told that she was "too dark." She appeared in five of her brother's student films, made while he attended the USC School of Cinema-Television, as well as in several music videos, namely Lenny Kravitz's "Stand by My Woman" (1991), Antonello Venditti's "Alta Marea" (1991), The Lemonheads's "It's About Time" (1993), and Meat Loaf's "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" (1993). She began to learn from her father, as she noticed his method of observing people to become like them. Their relationship during this time was less strained, with Jolie realizing that they were both "drama queens."
Jolie began her professional film career in 1993, when she played her first leading role in the low-budget, straight-to-video science-fiction sequel Cyborg 2, as Casella "Cash" Reese, a near-human robot, designed to seduce her way into a rival manufacturer's headquarters and then self-detonate. Jolie was so disappointed with the film that she did not audition again for a year. Following a supporting role in the independent film Without Evidence (1995), Jolie starred as Kate "Acid Burn" Libby in her first Hollywood picture, Hackers (1995). The New York Times wrote, "Kate (Angelina Jolie) stands out. That's because she scowls even more sourly than [her co-stars] and is that rare female hacker who sits intently at her keyboard in a see-through top. Despite her sullen posturing, which is all this role requires, Ms. Jolie has the sweetly cherubic looks of her father, Jon Voight." The movie failed to make a profit at the box office, but developed a cult following after its video release.
She next appeared in the 1996 comedy Love Is All There Is, a modern-day loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set among two rival Italian family restaurant owners in The Bronx, New York. In the road movie Mojave Moon (1996) she played a young woman who falls for Danny Aiello's middle-aged character, while he develops feelings for her mother, played by Anne Archer. That same year, Jolie also portrayed Margret "Legs" Sadovsky, one of five teenage girls who form an unlikely bond in the film Foxfire after they beat up a teacher who has sexually harassed them. The Los Angeles Times wrote about her performance, "It took a lot of hogwash to develop this character, but Jolie, Jon Voight's knockout daughter, has the presence to overcome the stereotype. Though the story is narrated by Maddy, Legs is the subject and the catalyst."
In 1997, Jolie starred with David Duchovny in the thriller Playing God, set in the Los Angeles underworld. The movie was not well received by critics; Roger Ebert noted that "Angelina Jolie [...] finds a certain warmth in a kind of role that is usually hard and aggressive; she seems too nice to be Blossom's girlfriend, and maybe she is." She then appeared in the television film True Women (1997), a historical romantic drama set in the American West and based on the book by Janice Woods Windle. That year, she also appeared as a stripper in the music video for "Anybody Seen My Baby?" by the Rolling Stones.
Jolie's career prospects began to improve after she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in TNT's George Wallace (1997). She portrayed Cornelia Wallace, the second wife of Alabama Governor George Wallace, played byGary Sinise. The film was very well received by critics and won, among other awards, the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film. Jolie also received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance.
In 1998, Jolie starred in HBO's Gia, portraying supermodel Gia Carangi. The film chronicled the destruction of Carangi's life and career as a result of her addiction to heroin, and her decline and death from AIDS in the mid-1980s. Vanessa Vance from Reel.com noted, "Angelina Jolie gained wide recognition for her role as the titular Gia, and it's easy to see why. Jolie is fierce in her portrayal—filling the part with nerve, charm, and desperation—and her role in this film is quite possibly the most beautiful train wreck ever filmed." For the second consecutive year, Jolie won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award. She also won her first Screen Actors Guild Award.
In accordance with Lee Strasberg's method acting, Jolie preferred to stay in character in between scenes during many of her early films, and as a result had gained a reputation for being difficult to deal with. While shooting Gia, she told her then-husband Jonny Lee Miller that she would not be able to phone him: "I'd tell him: 'I'm alone; I'm dying; I'm gay; I'm not going to see you for weeks.'" After Gia wrapped in 1997, Jolie announced that she had given up acting for good, because she felt that she had "nothing else to give."She separated from Miller and moved to New York, where she enrolled at New York University to study filmmaking and attend writing classes; she later described it as "just good for me to collect myself." Encouraged by her Golden Globe Award win for George Wallace and the positive critical reception of Gia, she resumed her career.
Jolie returned to film in the 1998 gangster movie Hell's Kitchen. Later that year, she appeared in Playing by Heart, part of an ensemble cast that included Sean Connery, Gillian Anderson, Ryan Phillippe, and Jon Stewart. The film received predominantly positive reviews, and Jolie was praised in particular. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Jolie, working through an overwritten part, is a sensation as the desperate club crawler learning truths about what she's willing to gamble."Jolie won the Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.
In 1999, she starred in the comedy-drama Pushing Tin, alongside John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. The film received a mixed reception from critics, and Jolie's character—Thornton's seductive wife—was particularly criticized. The Washington Post wrote, "Mary (Angelina Jolie) [is] a completely ludicrous writer's creation of a free-spirited woman who weeps over hibiscus plants that die, wears lots of turquoise rings and gets real lonely when Russell spends entire nights away from home." She then co-starred with Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector (1999), an adaptation of a crime novel by Jeffery Deaver. Jolie played a police officer haunted by her cop father's suicide, who reluctantly helps Washington track down a serial killer. The movie grossed $151 million worldwide, but was a critical failure. The Detroit Free Press concluded, "Jolie, while always delicious to look at, is simply and woefully miscast."
"Jolie is emerging as one of the great wild spirits of current movies, a loose cannon who somehow has deadly aim."—Roger Ebert on Jolie's performance in Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Jolie next took the supporting role of the sociopathic mental patient Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted (1999), an adaptation of author Susanna Kaysen's memoir of the same name. While Winona Ryder played the main character in what was hoped to be a comeback for her, the film instead marked Jolie's final breakthrough in Hollywood. She won her third Golden Globe Award, her second Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Variety noted, "Jolie is excellent as the flamboyant, irresponsible girl who turns out to be far more instrumental than the doctors in Susanna's rehabilitation."
In 2000, Jolie appeared in her first summer blockbuster, Gone In 60 Seconds, in which she played Sarah "Sway" Wayland, the ex-girlfriend of car thief Nicolas Cage. The role was small, and The Washington Post criticized that "all she does in this movie is stand around, cooling down, modeling those fleshy, pulsating muscle-tubes that nest so provocatively around her teeth." She later explained that the film had been a welcome relief after the emotionally heavy role of Lisa Rowe. It became her highest-grossing movie to that point, earning $237 million internationally.
International success: 2001–2005Edit
Jolie then starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his mail-order bride in Original Sin (2001), a thriller based on the novel Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich. The film was a major critical failure, withThe New York Times noting, "The story plunges more precipitously than Ms. Jolie's neckline." In 2002, she starred in Life or Something Like It as an ambitious television reporter who is told that she will die in a week. The film was poorly received by critics, though Jolie's performance received positive reviews. CNN's Paul Clinton wrote, "Jolie is excellent in her role. Despite some of the ludicrous plot points in the middle of the film, this Academy Award-winning actress is exceedingly believable in her journey towards self-discovery and the true meaning of fulfilling life."Although highly regarded for her acting abilities, Jolie's films to date had often not appealed to a wide audience, but Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) made her an international superstar. An adaptation of the popular Tomb Raider videogame, Jolie was required to learn an English accent and undergo extensive martial arts training to play the title role of Lara Croft. She was generally praised for her physical performance, but the movie generated mostly negative reviews. Slant commented, "Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft but [director] Simon West makes her journey into a game of Frogger." The movie was an international success nonetheless, earning $275 million worldwide, and launched her global reputation as a female action star.
In 2004, Jolie starred alongside Ethan Hawke in the thriller Taking Lives. She portrayed an FBI profiler summoned to help Montreal law enforcement hunt down a serial killer. The movie received mixed reviews and The Hollywood Reporter concluded, "Angelina Jolie plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, but she does add an unmistakable dash of excitement and glamour." She also provided the voice of the angelfish Lola in the DreamWorks animated movie Shark Tale (2004), and had a brief appearance in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), a science fiction adventure film shot entirely with actors in front of a bluescreen. That same year, Jolie playedOlympias in Alexander, about the life of Alexander the Great. The film failed domestically, which director Oliver Stone attributed to disapproval of the depiction of Alexander's bisexuality, but it succeeded internationally, with revenue of $139 million outside the United States.Jolie reprised her role as Lara Croft in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), which established her among Hollywood's highest-paid actresses.The sequel was not as lucrative as the original, earning $156 million at the international box office. She appeared in the music video for Korn's "Did My Time", which was used to promote the film. She next starred in Beyond Borders (2003), as a socialite who joins aid workers in Africa and Asia. The film reflected Jolie's real-life interest in promoting humanitarian relief, but it was critically and financially unsuccessful. The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Jolie, as she did in her Oscar-winning role in Girl, Interrupted, can bring electricity and believability to roles that have a reality she can understand. She can also, witness the Lara Croft films, do acknowledged cartoons. But the limbo of a hybrid character, a badly written cardboard person in a fly-infested, blood-and-guts world, completely defeats her."
Continued success: 2005–2011Edit
Jolie then starred opposite Brad Pitt in the 2005 action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which tells the story of a bored married couple, John and Jane Smith, who find out that they are both secret assassins. The film received mixed reviews, but was generally lauded for the chemistry between the two leads. The Star Tribune noted, "While the story feels haphazard, the movie gets by on gregarious charm, galloping energy and the stars' thermonuclear screen chemistry." The movie earned $478 million worldwide, making it the seventh-highest grossing film of 2005.
In 2007, Jolie made her directorial debut with the documentary A Place in Time, which captures daily life in 27 locations around the world during a single week. The film was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and was intended for distribution to high schools through the National Education Association.Jolie then starred as Mariane Pearl in the documentary-style drama A Mighty Heart (2007). Based on Pearl's memoir of the same name, the film chronicles the kidnapping and murder of her husband, The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in Pakistan. The Hollywood Reporter described Jolie's performance as "well-measured and moving," played "with respect and a firm grasp on a difficult accent." Jolie was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. She also played Grendel's mother in the animated epic Beowulf (2007), which was created through the motion capture technique.Jolie next appeared in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd (2006), a film about the early history of the CIA, as seen through the eyes of Edward Wilson, an officer based on James Jesus Angleton and played by Matt Damon. Jolie played the supporting role of Margaret "Clover" Russell, Wilson's neglected wife. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Jolie ages convincingly throughout, and is blithely unconcerned with how her brittle character is coming off in terms of audience sympathy."
Jolie co-starred alongside James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman in the 2008 action movie Wanted, an adaptation of Mark Millar's graphic novel of the same name. The film received predominately favorable reviews and proved an international success, earning $342 million worldwide. She also provided the voice of Master Tigress in the DreamWorks animated movie Kung Fu Panda (2008). With revenue of $632 million internationally, it became the third-highest grossing film of 2008. That same year, Jolie took on the lead role in Clint Eastwood's drama Changeling. Based in part on the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, the film stars Jolie as Christine Collins, who is reunited with her kidnapped son in 1928 Los Angeles—only to realize the boy is an impostor. The Chicago Tribunenoted, "Jolie really shines in the calm before the storm, the scenes [...] when one patronizing male authority figure after another belittles her at their peril."Jolie received nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award.
Jolie next starred in the 2010 thriller Salt, her first film in two years. She starred alongside Liev Schreiber as CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who goes on the run after she is accused of being a KGB sleeper agent. Originally written as male, the character Salt underwent a gender change after a Columbia Pictures executive suggested Jolie for the role to director Phillip Noyce. The film was an international success with revenue of $294 million. It received mixed to positive reviews, with Jolie's performance earning praise; Empire remarked, "When it comes to selling incredible, crazy, death-defying antics, Jolie has few peers in the action business."She also starred opposite Johnny Depp in The Tourist (2010), which was a major critical failure. Peter Traverswrote, "Depp and Jolie hit career lows, producing the chemistry of high-fashion zombies." After a slow start at the domestic box office, the film went on to gross $278 million worldwide.Jolie received a controversial Golden Globe Award nomination, which was speculated to have been given merely to ensure her high-profile presence at the awards ceremony.
In 2011, Jolie reprised her voice role as Master Tigress in the animated DreamWorks sequel Kung Fu Panda 2. It became the fourth-highest grossing film of 2011 and Jolie's highest grossing film to date, earning $666 million at the international box office. She also made her directorial feature debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011), a love story between a Serb soldier and a Bosniak prisoner of war, set during the 1992–95 Bosnian War. Jolie, who had twice visited Bosnia-Herzegovina in her capacity as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, explained that she made the film to rekindle attention for the survivors of a war that took place in recent history.The film, which Jolie also scripted and co-produced, aroused both praise and criticism in the Balkans; the response from Bosniak war-victims advocacy organizations was "overwhelmingly positive," while a Serb war prisoners group decried the film for its alleged anti-Serb bias. Sarajevo's regional government named Jolie an honorary citizen of the capital for raising awareness of the war. In the Land of Blood and Honey won the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America, which honors films that highlight provocative social issues. It also received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In February 2013, it was announced that Jolie will be teaming up with the Coen brothers to tell the story of World War II hero Louis Zamperini. The brothers are set to rewrite Unbroken, the adaptation of the 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand. Jolie is set to direct the film.