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Mariane Pearl: "One day a few years ago, I was alone in New York with Adam, still having a rough time [after Danny’s death]. I read an interview with Angie in a magazine, about her and Maddox and her life as a single mom. And I thought, this woman could be my friend…. I’d never experienced anything like that before in my life. It was something in her tone, in the answers that she gave. I felt also that Maddox and Adam [then both about three] could be good friends. So I sent her a note saying, do you want to have a playdate?"
Angelina: "Because she hates the phone as much as I do. So it almost didn’t happen! But when it finally did, I remember being really nervous, thinking, she’s such an intelligent European woman—what are we going to do together? So we went to this serious, European, existential play—it seemed like the right thing [and it was supposed to be OK for kids]. But Adam and Mad got antsy, and finally halfway through, to each other’s relief, we were both like, do you want to get out of here? And we ran out and went back to Mariane’s place..."
Mariane: "We cooked pasta; it was actually good. And then we started talking about changing the world..."
Angelina: "...and about all the things we were passionate about. Her instincts were right—we did have so much in common. And all the kids are great friends now. Zahara is madly in love with Adam."
Glamour: And was the movie a thought for either of you at that point?
Mariane: "...I had met with Brad separately about the movie, [but] he wasn’t connected at all with Angie at that time. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do a movie...Everybody was using terrorism for their own political agenda at that time, and really, this is a story about Danny. But when I met Brad --well, out of all the studios, he was the only one who had actually read the book!"
Mariane: "Really...and I could see already that he wanted to have children, and to raise them in a world of tolerance...I don’t think I would have done it if I didn’t feel a direct connection to Brad and, then, Angie."
Angelina: "We all had an understanding that it couldn’t be a traditional melodrama: You know, “Mariane starts to get upset and the camera gets really, really close.��? Because the wonderful thing about Mariane, and the book, is that she’s not like that. You know, Mariane, you’re somebody who has every right to have a lot of anger. And the fact that you take a deep breath and stand up with a very clear voice of tolerance and dialogue -- that’s why I wanted to do the film."
Mariane: "Well, that kind of self-control…hasn’t been easy for me. I always go back to one moment: In Karachi, when Captain [the Pakistani officer who was leading the investigation into Danny’s kidnapping] came to the house and told me what happened, my reaction was that I grabbed an AK-47 from one of the guards. In that single moment, I knew how easy it would be to kill someone. If they had brought a person who was guilty [of Danny’s murder] to the house, I would have shot him. But then I would have destroyed everything Danny believed in, and everything we did as a couple—and I couldn’t do that. Putting that gun down was my biggest act of courage."
Glamour: So Angelina, here you are, knowing Mariane, being friends with her—and then you take on this role. That must add a layer that doesn’t usually exist for an actress.
Angelina: "Yeah, and it’s horrible. I was so nervous! I mean, it’s like you’re in a roomful of your closest friends and somebody says, “Why don’t you get up and imitate the friend to your left?��? Nobody would want to do that, ever!….I had to express the worst time in her life and [in the scene where Mariane is told of Danny’s death] the moment when she received the worst information of her life. It became the worst acting day of my life -- and really, the hardest thing I’ve ever done."