You don't get much more famous than Angelina Jolie. The acting roles that made her famous (the troubled teen in Girl Interrupted, the ass-kicking archeologist in Tomb Raider) have long been overshadowed by her personal life — the endless stream of chatter about her six children with Brad Pitt.
But Jolie's latest project found her behind the camera. In the Land of Blood and Honey is her directing and screenwriting debut. Set in the former Yugoslavia during the civil war of the 1990s, it follows a love story between a Bosnian Serb soldier and his Muslim prisoner. The film is violent, political, and it's performed in Serbo-Croatian by a local cast. "I was so excited as an artist to work with other artists from former Yugoslovia," Jolie says. "What could we learn from each other?"
Some of the scenes of violence – particularly sexual violence – hit close to home for the actors playing the scenes. "They're screaming and yelling at the women and pulling their coats off. As soon as we'd call cut, they'd put their coats back on them, they'd apologize," Jolie remembers. "They were very uncomfortable. [But] the reason they played that is to show the violence against women."
"I love being behind the camera," she says. But it was hard for her kids to take in. "They came to set and they said, 'Why does it say director on your door?' I didn't even have an answer."
Still from In the Land of Blood and Honey – Ajla (Zana MarjanoviÄ?) turns away from Danijel's (Goran KostiÄ?) advances. (Dean Semler/Courtesy of FilmDistrict and GK Films)