Angelina Jolie is casually attired in a loose fitting white blouse and jeans as she greets the media while promoting Beowulf. Playing a reptilian seductress of sorts, her CGI body erupts from the depths of the water in all its nakedness. She recalls being three months pregnant during the brief two and a half days she spent on this film, “which included having my body mapped” but enjoyed her demonic role on this tale of vikings, power and lust.
“It was a great experience that we all had. I think the nice thing about it is that we all do films and so much of it has become a business and so much of it is these projects where people want to rush through things where you feel like, oh you make a movie and you’re not really sure… you’ve lost touch with the artistic process and the fun of it. Bob Zemeckis is a real artist, he loves it so much, he’s so enthusiastic and so original that you really feel you remember you’re a creative person. That means you have fun with everybody else and I needed that as an artist and I’m grateful for that and for the experience.”
Based on the mythic poem, the film chronicles the exploits of the mighty warrior Beowulf who battles the demon Grendel and incurs the hellish wrath of the beast’s ruthlessly seductive mother, played by Jolie. The beautiful actress laughs when recalling what she thought when she saw her nakedly animated image on the screen for the first time. “I got a little shy,” she recalls laughingly. ” I didn’t expect ourselves to come out as much or it to feel as real. So because especially of the type of character I play it was kind of funny at first but there are certain moments where I felt actually shy. So I called home and explained the kind of fun movie that I had done, this digital animation, was in fact, a little different than what we were expecting and I was really surprised that I felt that exposed.”
In approaching the character, Jolie recalls her first conversation with director Zemeckis. “I was told I was going to be a lizard and then I was brought into a room with Bob and a bunch of pictures and things and examples and he showed me this picture of a woman half painted gold and then a lizard. I’ve got kids so I thought, that’s great, so bizarre, I’m going to be this crazy reptilian person and creature and I was very excited. Then I met with Crispin and we had a great time with amazing scenes and then saw the poster and a few other things and realized I’m not just a lizard. But I’m very excited about it. It was just great but she’s an interesting and one of those fun characters. She’s evil, she’s temptation and she’s very fun to play and again we had a great time and I got to work with great actors.”
As to whether or not the high profile star feels that the film’s theme dealing with myth versus truth can apply to her own life, the actress smiles slightly. “I try not to think about my public life, but prefer to focus on my private life and that’s just the best way to live.” But the actress does concede that for her, balancing motherhood and work is not as great a challenge as one might think. “You try to balance and try not to work too much. You take turns working, so it’s not too hard.”
Asked if would like to do more of these high tech animated films, the actress doesn’t rule anything out. “I wouldn’t call this animation because we were doing all of these things and every single gesture is ours and everything is acted out by us, even how our eyeballs move – because this is a new thing, are exactly where we look because they were mapped exactly so it is our performances and we had these scenes together. So I do think that’s important to state because it’s exciting and it’s different.”