Angelina Jolie relishes spy role, but only in fiction

Being a glamorous secret agent suits Angelina Jolie just fine.

As long as it is just for the movies.

"I couldn't keep a secret life because it is just not natural to me and my family, but I think is a great sacrifice people make," the actress said in an interview with AFP ahead of the release of the spy thriller "Salt," in which she stars.

In the interview in a Washington hotel, Jolie said she would have a difficult time in real life as her character, CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who is accused of being a Russian spy and must prove her innocence while on the run.

Jolie, a 35-year-old mother of six and UN goodwill ambassador for refugees, said the public understands spy films are fiction despite the recent high-profile case involving a dozen so-called Russian sleeper agents.

"I think most people are smart enough to just recognize entertainment, because we've had spy movies and entertainment around for a very long time," said Jolie, her hair hanging loose around her shoulders and wearing a black sleeveless dress that revealed her famous tattoos on her arms.

"In reality it is entertainment even though is based on things that are possible. I think we didn't focus on the politics as much as the people and their personalities."

For her role, Jolie consulted with a real spy, Mellisa Boyle Mahle, a former US intelligence officer and an expert on the Middle East and counterterrorism.

"I tried to take it as seriously as I would any dramatic role, I try to think about her childhood, what kind of person she would be and the things that make her sad or the things that make her happy," Jolie said.

"We talked about the sacrifice of not being able to share with your family, and... what a relief it is when you retire and you can finally talk."

The action film, featuring explosions, car chases and a fast-paced plot line, was directed by Phillip Noyce and co-stars Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The movie begins wide worldwide distribution in the coming week.

Jolie also told AFP she would welcome another film with her partner and Hollywood star Brad Pitt, with whom she co-starred in the action flick "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

"Of course, of course," she said when asked about playing opposite Pitt again, but said the film would have to be carefully chosen.

"I think when you are a real couple, (there are) some things audiences prefer to see real couples do, and some things they really don't like to see real couples do, so you have to be very careful," she said.

"I'd like to do everything with him, I love to be just with him... I don't think it is a risk for us, we have fun doing everything together."

Jolie said she strives to limit her film work as she juggles her role as mother, actress and UN humanitarian envoy.

"I schedule a lot, and in advance," she said.

"I only work for a few months and then I take many months off. Before 'Salt' we got a year and half off and just traveled and I just was a mom.

"And now I'm not working for five to six months... Brad's working and I'm just being a mom and traveling."

She enjoys travel and tries to visit the locations where some of her adopted children were born.

"I want to discover everything," she said. "I will always love the countries that my children are from, they will always be special to me."

Jolie adopted her son Maddox from Cambodia, daughter Zahara from Ethiopia, and her son Pax Thien from Vietnam. Her biological daughter Shiloh was born in Namibia and her twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline were born in France.

Even though she has won an Oscar and other awards, Jolie said she still holds up Meryl Streep as today's leading actress.

"I don't know if I'll ever be as good as she is, she's so brilliant," Jolie said. "She is the one we all try to be as good as, but none of us will ever be as good as Meryl."

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