Angelina Jolie has revealed she felt “broken” before taking on her latest film role.
The Maleficent star, who split from former husband Brad Pitt in 2016 after a 10-year relationship, can next be seen in Those Who Wish Me Dead, directed by Hell or High Water’s Taylor Sheridan.
Jolie, 45, plays a smokejumper – a specially trained firefighter who provides an initial attack response to remote wildland fires.
Her character, Hannah, is still reeling after failing to save three people from a fire when she comes across a traumatised 12-year-old boy, Connor, played by Finn Little.
She helps him flee as he is chased by two assassins, played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen, after a deadly attack on his father, and the pair brave lightning storms and a huge fiery blaze in a bid to outrun them.
Jolie told the PA news agency: “I think we all have times in our lives where we just feel broken. And I’m certainly one of those people. And so I came into this not feeling strong at all, and not knowing if I had it even in me to pull through this.
“And, like everybody, I carry my own trauma, my own grief, different things that have happened in my life.
“And so it was very cathartic. Can I pull myself through? Can I pull the child through it? Can I can I get to the other end of this? Am I strong enough? Am I stable enough?”
Jolie, who is mother to six children – Maddox, 19, Pax, 17, Zahara, 16, Shiloh, 14, and 12-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne – found fame in action roles such as Tomb Raider, Mr & Mrs Smith, Salt, and Wanted, as well as her Oscar-winning performance in the drama Girl, Interrupted.
However, she has also forged a career as director in recent years, with films including In the Land of Blood and Honey, Unbroken, By the Sea, and First they Killed My Father, and said taking on a physical challenge felt like a new experience.
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She said: “It did feel new. I’m older, and it’s not just that my body was different, it was just that I’m different. And it’s been about a decade or so since I’ve done anything like that.
“And then of course there’s that moment at the beginning where you think, ‘What am I doing?’”
Jolie said her children are not used to seeing her act and think it is “funny”. She added: “I think actually it was really good for them, it was nice to see me survive and be strong. But it was weird, I definitely had it in my mind, thinking maybe I’m not capable of this anymore.”
Those Who Wish Me Dead is released in cinemas from 17 May.
Additional reporting by PA
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