Although Angelina Jolie is no stranger to action movies, the Oscar-winning actress is the first to admit getting back into the stunt-heavy world took some adjustment. “It had been so long since I’d worked. I’d had babies, and it was just actually getting my boots back on and punching again,” she says of preparing for her role of a CIA operative accused of spying in “Salt.” “It was a lot of learning while doing.”
Jolie also had to unlearn a lot of the stunt work she’d grown accustomed to over her career, which stunt coordinator Simon Crane was quick to point out. “He said, ‘You have to be meaner. You have to stop being so elegant when you fight,’” she remembers. “You know, the quickest way to take somebody down instead of the prettiest way.”
“Salt” was originally about a male CIA agent — and set to star Tom Cruise — before Jolie came on board. In fact, the gender hadn’t changed yet when she got the script. “I got a call and they said, ‘We’ve got a movie for you, and your name is Edwin and you have a wife.’ I thought, very cool,” Jolie remembers.
But a part of “Salt”’s old script remains. In one scene, Jolie dons a disguise as a male military officer, not necessarily the best time for her partner, Brad Pitt, to stop by the set. “Brad came to visit, and I remember saying, ‘I’m a man tomorrow, it’s going to be weird.’ And he said, ‘It’s you, it’ll be fine.’ And then he showed up and, ‘It’s weird.’ It was really weird.”