SALT Adds Flavor to the Summer Box Office

SALT, a Sony Entertainment/ Columbia Pictures film, along with Angelina Jolie, Phillip Noyce and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura are headed for a savory summer experience as SALT adds flavor to the box office with solid standings after the opening weekend receipts.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the World premiere of SALT in Los Angeles July 23, 2010.

The partnership between Ms. Jolie and Director Phillip Noyce was well known before SALT and now with the audience clearly craving a second appetizing installment of Angelina Jolie as kick-ass CIA operative on the run, Evelyn Salt, the sequel can only promise a power packed punch.

Angelina Jolie and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

With the collaborating team of Angelina Jolie, Phillip Noyce and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura the screenplay for the sequel to SALT will certainly be filled with faster action and will no doubt be a high tech contemporary thrill rill through the inner sanctums of the Pentagon and Washington, DC as Evelyn Salt works through the five-sided maze with a driving force for justice and to clear her name. 

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura on the set of Transformers.

The Six Sides of Truth,* the single truth outside the Pentagon’s fortress of lies, spies and cover-up's could bring Jolie a second opportunity to work with fellow cast mates Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor and as Director Phillip Noyce stated over the weekend the audience has spoken and there will be a SALT sequel.

Director Phillip Noyce with co-stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Liev Schreiber.

The following roundtable interviews were conducted at The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown, prior to the film’s weekend opening. Ms. Jolie was the third to the table. She was pleasant, forthcoming, informative and willing to talk, in depth, on the film, family and career.  She emphatically denied the recent retirement rumor spawned by the August Vanity Fair cover, never spoke on Brad, her relationship, their lives together or any juicy morsels that may drive site traffic or sell magazines. The photos of the two for the SALT premiere should dispel any rumors and as it is Hollywood, where fairy tales do come true and things are never the way they seem, we can only hope, for the sake of site traffic and magazines sales, that some juicy morsel may appear on the horizon.

Angelina Jolie and partner Brad Pitt.

We had, collectively, fifteen minutes and the following are the exchanges between myself and Ms. Jolie and Director Phillip Noyce.

Angelina Jolie in Cancun, Mexico during the International Press Junket.

Janet Walker: Do you have a most memorable moment working on this film? I asked this question at every roundtable so far and they’ve all indicated they had these moments where it became there was a very poignant moment for them in the script process and I was wondering if you had one also?

Angelina Jolie: Um, I don’t know if it was that kind of movie for me. I think maybe watching the children. I think that maybe for me, they had to sit me down and they showed me all this footage of children in institutionalized settings doing all these things and as a little me which kind of looked a bit like Shiloh to me and she was almost in it for a moment. I guess it told me so much about my character but it also made me think of those kids. My character is orphaned. To see the little baby in the classroom by itself obviously I’m drawn to that moment.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Janet Walker: Last night at the Panel, the CIA Consultant talked about how she worked with you specifically on the Walk-In and how it was very important and she said you sat with her for some time picking her brain on that and can you tell me what you were trying to gather from her for that particular scene?

Angelina Jolie: Well, for the Walk-In as far as the details, I don’t remember the specifics things such as how she behaved or what was appropriate or is this technically right, that kind of stuff. It was more, for me, this understanding of the loneliness of someone who’s not allowed to talk to their family about anything and just studying her which she probably didn’t realize I was studying her. I was asking her questions and watching her mannerism and just her behavior and just her. She is so the opposite of this tough and I’m feeling am I tough enough and she doesn’t fit that package, the obvious tough either and yet she is the real thing. So, it gave me comfort to know that I could also be lady and a woman and there was the reality to that as well and that I didn’t have to go tough and not try to mimic some idea but to actually study this lovely lady who had actually done this.

Angelina Jolie in Cancun, Mexico.

Janet Walker: You mentioned you physical training. You mentioned you had, it sounded like some Martial Arts training, is that stage combat or film combat training or did they put you through the actual rigors of boot camp style physical fitness?

Angelina Jolie: You know, I told them I just don’t have time to train.  A lot of this for me was just getting back in to working out. I had babies and It just actually getting my boots back on and punching again. And trying so we really crammed it in pretty fast. So a lot of learning while doing. They did try to train me in different styles. We started kind of fancy with some tai and wide kicks and then we realized it had to be go more street fighting. It had to be more hands in somebody’s face and grapple and kick and punch. The quickest way to take somebody down; not the most interesting and prettiest way.

Angelina Jolie and with partner Brad Pitt.

Director Phillip Noyce was last on the round and, as with the entire talent team, was pleasant and offered the talent the highest praise repeatedly. He explained his childhood experiences set him on a course that began with a desire to become a spy as his profession. His thirst for scouting out the truth and spying on his neighbors ingrained in him a desire that motivated him until he landed behind the camera, a voyeur into the spy life, directing the highly successful and critically acclaimed Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games starring Harrison Ford.

SALT Director Phillip Noyce.

Janet Walker: Angelina said that “she had a great role in the collaboration process” other than the gender change which is an obvious change what was one of the most major changes or contributions of the collaboration process? 

Phillip Noyce: It happened in every scene really. There’s just too many to be specific, really.  She is a great collaborator and more than a collaborator. I tend to encourage actors to speak with voices meaning When they start to say that dreaded line, “but my character wouldn’t do that?  But that’s not like it was for Dennis Hopper with Henry Hathaway [in From Hell to Texas].” It’s not a burden it’s something that frees you as a director because now you know they’ve crossed over to the other side. To their character. They’ve become their character. Sometimes it comes out a little wrong as babble but I was blessed with having three really superb actors who were willing to embrace all the research and did cross over and did come back to me with questions that were highly collaborative in their nature. “But I feel, but I want, but shouldn’t, but wouldn’t, but shouldn’t the audience and that’s the key question you hope they will ask on behalf of the audience I feel. Because the audience are the people we serve. We owe everything to them and we’re only joined in this collaboration to engage them in the story that we’re telling. They were constant, they were daily. But it was the same with Chiwetel and Liev. Liev, in particular, a perfectionist, one of the greatest living America actors who just pushes and pushes and pushes until you feel that and then your realize it’s all for the better.

On set with Director Phillip Noyce and Angelina Jolie.

Janet Walker: How did you alter or did you alter the actions scenes when the lead was changed to a female?
Phillip Noyce: We didn’t alter them.
Janet Walker: Really? They remained the same?
Phillip Noyce: They remained the same. But some of the scenes hadn’t been imagined yet. But we didn't change them.
Janet Walker: Not at all? There weren’t any adaptations to the female character in the action?
Phillip Noyce: No, no, nothing.

Phillip Noyce.

Janet Walker: I noticed there were a couple of gratuitous violence shots at the very end in the helicopter where he takes a couple of solid punches at her and I don’t want to say that it stretches the imagination but it somewhat does . . .and  . . .

Phillip Noyce: One wonders whether those are gratuitous or whether they’re the actions of a person who are deliberately trying to throw the other people who might be listening and watching what’s about to happen to throw their attention in another direction and to establish what is a false attitude to the person you are interrogating. If you remember before the first punch he spend a good few seconds looking at the other people in the helicopter thinking and then he throws the punch and he says, “What?” as if to say, “if you don’t like it turn away. But this is how I feel about her. I think it’s part of being the actor that’s inside every spy.  He was acting. No, the character was acting.

SALT Director, Phillip Noyce.

Janet Walker: Was that[scene] at your direction or were those element brought to life by the  . . .process?
Phillip Noyce: Actually,  that was in the screenplay.

On the set of SALT.

With that the roundtable with Director Philip Noyce was over and they were completed. The roundtables were engaging, informative and offered an opportunity to hear an insider’s view on the process, the project, and the preparation. The roundtable interviews with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Liev Schreiber will go live next week.

Special Thanks to Warren Betts of Warren Betts Communications.

All pictures courtesy of Goggle.

The Six Sides of Truth is a registered property with the WGA and is producer ready. The interactive treatment is available through Pulse Point Productions, Inc.

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