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Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie... The Happy Couple

Empire Magazine. June 1996

Most people who had only been hitched a fortnight would no doubt be bursting to broadcast news of their nuptials, but Angelina Jolie, one half of the movie world's latest set of newly-weds, slips her betrothal to Hackers co-start Johnny Lee Miller into the conversation as casually as one might request an extra sugar in their coffee.

"We got married two weeks ago," she tells your taken aback reporter, "and no, we didn't have a big white wedding, we had a small black wedding..."

As actor relationships go, it's certainly been kept quiet, although the 20-year-old actress' constant reference to their sharing of a flat during the film's shoot coupled with Miller's recent confession to "being involved with an American girl who lives in LA" and a gold band glittering on Jolie's wedding ring finger give the game away.

And it's certainly not a partnership without its talents. He, after all, is the fresh-faced, Surrey-born lad who acquired more than his fair share of "next big thing" accolades following his performance as the Sean Connery-fixated junkie Sick Boy in Trainspotting. She is the daughter of Oscar winner Jon Voight, who enrolled in the Lee Strasberg acting school at the tender age of 11, and clawed her way into the limelight via a series of little-seen independent films. He is charming and softly spoken, to the point of shyness, punctuating his conversation with subtle witticisms. She is louder of the two. Perceptive, intelligent and amusing, even in the face of the jet-lag that accompanied her on this whistle-stop visit to London.

Now the pair are united onscreen in this month's Hackers, the film that brought them together. Directed by Backbeat helmer Iain Softley, Miller and Jolie start as computer-literate teens caught up in a corporate scam after accidentally hacking into the system of a giant conglomerate. While the ensuing events might be a little too heavy on computer lingo for the average punter, the end result is fast-moving and surprisingly funny. For both leads it was their first experience of a major studio picture (for Miller, his first experience of a movie altogether, having made the film before Trainspotting), and there was much research to be done.

We had three weeks of learning how to type and rollerblade," says Jolie, "and hanging out with the cast, which was heaven - racing Johnny on rollerblades was a big part of our relationship. We read a lot about computers and met computer hackers. With a lot of lines, I didn't know what I was talking about, but it was fascinating."

For Miller, though, the best part was being transported to the Big Apple to put much of the action on film.

I would've disappeared into New York if I hadn't been taken away," he grins. "I wouldn't want to live there but making a film, you get to see more than you usually would."

Since then there's been Trainspotting, of course ("Danny Boyle got such a wonderful bunch of people together and the way he gets the flavor in everyone's mind in rehearsal is extraordinary"), and a trip to Texas for the Tommy Lee Jones role in the prequel to the TV hit Lonesome Dove. Which explains the absence of his recent peroxide blond haircut.

"I had to go back to this for the Western," Miller explains, indicating his naturally light brown thatch. "There isn't much bleach in the desert..."

Jolie, meanwhile, will follow up Hackers with lead duties in the New York-set drama Hell's Kitchen, quite a departure from the sort of offers that have come her way since playing the technology whizz kid Acid Burn, a.k.a. Kate.

"I seem to be getting a lot of things pushed my way that are strong women, but the wrong type of strong women. It's like people see Hackers and they send me offers to play tough women with guns, the kind who wear no bra and a little tank top. I'd like to play strong women who are also very feminine. The character in Hell's Kitchen is very tough, but she's also very soft. She ends up pregnant and happy."

Has she ever considered working with her Dad?

"We've thought about it," she says, "but it would depend on the situation. I know he loves to direct, but for anyone who has the possibility of their father directing them... the rebel that was in them when they were 13 would just come out, the 'I'm not going to listen to you!' attitude."

Although Jolie's parents broke up when she was very young, Voight couldn't be more supportive of his daughter.

"When I decided to become an actress, he didn't force me, he knew I wanted to do it on my own. I dropped my name because it was imported that I was my own person," she explains. "But now it's great because we can talk on a level few people can talk to their parents on. Not only can we talk about our work, but our work is about our emotions, our lives, the games we play, what goes through our heads."

It was similar family ties that drew Miller towards thespian matters; both grandfather and father trod the boards, the latter turning his hand to stage management, and his mother was involved in production. And, like Jolie, Miller also underwent something of a name change.

"My name's actually Jonathan without an 'h', but I couldn't have Jonathoan Miller as a professional name as there's already a Dr. Jonathan Miller," he recalls, explaing the missing 'h' from Jonny. "And Jonathan Lee Miller was too close, so I decided to go for a Country & Western feel. Then I can do what Laurence Fishburne did and change it back. Or maybe I'll change my name to Ken Miller..."




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