Filming By the Sea could have damaged Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s marriage within months of their August 2014 wedding. But thankfully the couple were able to go home to their six children every night.
“That might have been an absolute disaster,” Jolie, 40, told WSJ Magazine of shooting the marital drama as newlyweds. “But as soon as we got home, it was bedtime stories, children’s needs and problems, the fights they’d had during the day. We had to immediately snap back to something that was uniting and positive and loving.”
But on set, the pair couldn’t work as a team as they portrayed a couple struggling through their explosive marriage.
“We had to stay in our corners, like boxers, and not be husband and wife,” Jolie said. “It was very hard to do those scenes without Brad and I taking care of each other. Normally in between takes, you’d make sure that the other’s OK, but we had to be able to really get ugly.”
Pitt, 51, who had never been directed by his wife before, saw the ups and downs of the process, noting, “Being a couple, we have that shorthand that can be communicated in a look. Conversely, it means I knew immediately if she felt a take stunk.”
Though they lead glamorous Hollywood lives some of the time — attending WSJ Magazine’s Innovator Awards hand in hand on Wednesday, Nov. 4 — their home lives are much more mellow.
“We wake up, we make breakfast. In our domestic life, we’re Mom and Dad,” Jolie said. “And often we’re dorky Mom and Dad, which the kids find ridiculous.”
“When Angie has a day off, the first thing she does is get up and take the kids out,” Pitt added. “This is the most important ‘to do’ of the day. No matter how tired she might be, she plans outings for each and all. She has an incredible knack for inventing crazy experiences for them, something new, something fresh. I may be the bigger goof of the pair, but she invents the stage.”
What Jolie lacks in goofiness, she makes up for in heart. After losing her mother in 2007, she has ensured that her kids are always taken care of.
“I want to make sure my kids are never worried about me,” she said. “Even if I’m going through something, I make sure they are very aware that I’m totally fine. I’ll stop and make a joke, I talk to them. I never, ever want them to have that secret worry and feel that they have to take care of me.”
This caution came into play in 2013 when she had a preventative double mastectomy to reduce her high risk of breast cancer.
“You have to understand that this is a woman who never knew she’d make it to 40,” Pitt said. “This is a woman who had watched her mother, aunt and grandmother become sick and eventually succumb, all at an early age. Her drive, her absolute value in herself, is defined by the impact she can have during her time here — for her kids and for the underprivileged and those suffering injustices.”
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