Before they married in August of 2014, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt announced they’d be starring in their second film together, a “crazy sex”-filled romp featuring the actors as a married couple going through some stuff. Filmed on a closed set on the island of Malta during what turned out to be their honeymoon, Brad and Angelina have been pretty secretive about plot details. All we really knew about the film, written and directed by Jolie and co-starring Mélanie Laurent and Niels Arestrup, was that Vanessa and Roland — the couple the Jolie-Pitts play — go on vacation in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. From the trailers, things didn’t exactly seem to be going well.
I don’t know, they just look like a couple of abusive, rich assholes who can’t deal with life’s banality, right? Perhaps, not. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jolie and Pitt let a fairly big ***Spoiler*** fly. I’ll throw a gif in before the info, so you can still back on out if you don’t want to know more…
As it turns out, By the Sea may be much more introspective and contemplative than we would have imagined. Jolie wrote the script in 2007, right after her mother Marcheline Bertrand’s death from cancer, and it also deals with the actress’ feelings about her own preventative surgeries. Jolie revealed that her BTS character is terminally ill, and that’s the huge grief Roland and Vanessa are trying to cope with and hold together through.
“It was not easy. We just had to be brave and say, ‘OK, honey, we’re strong enough to do this; let’s somehow use this to make us stronger.’
I didn’t really know if I could make film and I didn’t think I could write film, so I wrote with a certain amount of freedom. I gave myself the task that it would be about grief and how different people react to and process it…That’s me speaking about my mother. I think maybe his character came from the purest place inside me.”
Speaking about his wife, Pitt relates her determination as a writer, director and actress to the person who chose to have a double-mastectomy.
“You have to understand that this is a woman who never knew she’d make it to 40. 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.
I’ll tell you this about her surgeries: Once the decision was made, she was on the operating table two weeks later.”
Talk about seeing things through an entirely different lens.
By the Sea also stars Melvil Poupaud and Richard Bohringer; it’s in theaters beginning November 13th.