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Angels in heaven~interviews2000

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'Wild Heart in Cages'

[German] Cinema. February 2000

There is a girl who likes playing with knives. Her passion for bladed weapons has scarred her for life, but she just shrugs. "You´re young, you´re crazy, you´re in bed, and you´ve got knives. So shit happens." There´s a girl who likes to eat nothing more than red meat and enjoys "feeling dirty". She has a lot of tattoos, such as the Japanese word for death. And when she married, she passionately sacrificed her own blood to wear her soon-to-be-husband´s name on her white T-shirt &endash; in deep red letters. This girl loves funerals because "crossing over could be a beautiful thing".

This girl´s name means "pretty little angel". And she keeps wondering, why everybody seems to think that there´s something very dark about her. Angelina Jolie confuses everyone and this confuses Angelina Jolie. "If I think about death more than some people have, it´s probably because I love life more than those people." Why she likes funerals so much? "It´s a time of comfort where people could reach out to each other."

Angelina´s often asked, if she isn´t afraid of regretting some of those tattoos later in her life. "Well", she answers, "there are just so many things to regret in life that if there´s ever a day where I regret having a tattoo, I can certainly live with that." Angelina says of herself that she can never just stop and relax. "Wherever I am, I find myself looking out of the window, wishing I was somewhere else." That´s why she has a little window tattooed on her back.

This angel´s restless soul can best be explained through her tattoos: On her left arm, there´s a Tennessee Williams quote: "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages". "I don´t think I know one person who I think can be completely who they are, every second of the day, who feels completely free.", she says. "So it´s kind of a prayer for everybody to find their happiness, to break out." But above all, the tattoo is a constant reminder to herself never ever to stop. Williams believed that animals feel comfortable in their cage because it represents safety and security. Angelina nods: "That´s it. Anything that makes us comfortable, those things are cages around us".

But maybe this girl who is so afraid of being happy, is really just afraid of being hurt. Her trust was put to the test, when she was one year old: Her father, Hollywood star Jon Voight, who got an Academy Award for his role in the anti-war movie Coming Home, and her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, got divorced. Angelina and her older brother James Haven grew up with their mother. "I was a terrible pest", the now 24-year old remembers. "But I never wanted to cause trouble &endash; I just wanted to be free." And being free meant playing with knives: As a teenager, Angelina allowed her boyfriend to draw a knife along her jawline. Angelina is playing this incident down: "I think a lot of it had to do with feelings. You know wanting to just feel?" And feelings have to be expressed. "My parents would always ask: What are you thinking? What are you feeling?" Angelina explains. "They never said: Be quiet! Stop talking!"

When Angelina was ten years old, she took her first acting class at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles, where she was constantly being teased for her braces and glasses, and her awkwardly skinny physique. The humiliation revived the rebel in her: She gave up acting, dyed her hair purple, started wearing black and dabbled in S&M. When she was fourteen, she fell in love with a punk rocker and brought him home to her mother´s house. Two years later, after having split up, she felt like she´d "been through a marriage."

Angelina turned to her dream again, swore off dating, and pulled herself together: She moved into her own apartment, enrolled in the Lee Strasberg Institute again and did a lot of stage work. Her first big part was a role as a German dominatrix. Father Jon Voight was moved to tears by his daughter´s talent, and she had his blessings, when she decided to move to New York to study film. The next few years, the angel spent in the B-movie hell. But when she received a Golden Globe for George Wallace and Gia, she was finally taken seriously as an actress. Her performance in Gia impressed critics and audience alike. Her portrayal of lesbian super model Gia Marie Carangi, who died of AIDS in 1986, was shockingly realistic. When an interviewer told her that she was on the very top of most heterosexual women´s erotic wish list, she came out as a bisexual, saying that she was the actress most likely to sleep with those women.

Soon after that, in 1999, Angelina got divorced from "Trainspotting" star Jonny Lee Miller, who she had met at the "Hackers" set and had married at 20. She´s still confused by all the fuss about her wedding shirt: "As if my blood was more important than my signature committing me to a person forever!"

Why this eternity only lasted four years and how she got over the separation, she of course also explains in a tattoo. "Quod me nutrit me destruit" (What nourishes me, destroys me) reads the script on her stomach. "The happier something makes you, the more it can hurt you", Angelina says. "That´s why the bad things in life have to be accepted just like the good things." Life´s a two-bladed knife, after all.




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