The actress had famously made the shift to directing in recent years, suggesting at one point she was intending to retire from acting for good.
Angelina Jolie has become a staple behind the camera in recent years, with big projects like “First They Killed My Father” and “Unbroken,” but that’s about to shift again.
With fewer and fewer on-screen appearances, she teased repeatedly that she intended to retire altogether from acting very soon and that each role might be her last. So why is she suddenly cropping up more and more in films?
The actress can next be seen as a firefighter in the action-packed drama “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” hitting theaters and HBO Max on May 14, followed by her entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with November’s “Eternals.”
Did she suddenly get the acting bug again, or lose interest in directing? As it turns out, the reason for this career shift is more practical than following passions or muses.
“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 actress told 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.”
Jolie’s family situation has been far more complicated since divorce proceedings opened up between her and Brad Pitt in 2016, including a custody battle over their six children.
But that directing experience has changed her as an actress, affording her a deeper understanding of the filmmaking process. “In very technical terms, I’m more aware of what the director needs, and what other challenges they’re facing, and how many different pieces are moving,” she said.
She also laughed that the biggest challenge she faces in the film, where she portrays a no-nonsense member of those firefighters who jump via parachute into forest fires, was in shutting down her parental instincts.
Through the course of the film, her character comes across a pre-teen boy, played by Finn Little, whom she must protect from both the blazing fire around them and two killers. But her character is not meant to be maternal by any means, which goes against Jolie’s natural instincts.
“Sometimes [director] Taylor [Sheridan] would correct me because my behavior towards a child was different from [my character’s] behavior towards a child. It took me a little bit to treat [Little] badly, but I got there.”
Jolie’s fans can look forward to a double-shot of her mean acting skills when “Those Who Wish Me Dead” hits on May 14, followed by Marvel’s “Eternals” November 5.